Nearly three weeks after making his public debut at the San Diego Zoo, panda cub Xiao Liwu is proving to be quite the ham.
The 6-month-old cub, whose name, which means “little gift,” was chosen in an online poll, rolled, crawled and padded his way through his most recent examination, requiring “three sets of hands” to get him still, according to the zoo.
The result? A diagnosis of “acute cuteness.”
“Animal care staff report that the cub is very strong, continues to be playful and isn’t very interested in sitting still,” the zoo said with the video of the exam posted online Wednesday.
Xiao Liwu has come a long way from his first checkup, that lasted all of three minutes, last August when he was just a 25-day old, one-pound cub. He was the sixth panda cub born at the zoo under a 12-year agreement with China that included the loan of two giant pandas.
Since then Xiao Liwu has become an online favorite thanks to the zoo’s panda cam, a live stream that has documented the cub’s nearly every movement since his birth. He made his public debut at the zoo on Jan. 10, after zookeepers determined he had developed the “bear behavior” of following his mother and being a better climber.
Now, the zoo says it has trouble keeping Xiao Liwu in bounds.
“Xiao Liwu enjoys climbing on anything he can find: logs, toys, Mom. He continues to explore his environment, perfecting his climbing skills and nibbling on bamboo sticks,” the zoo noted in a blog post this week. “After a full day out on exhibit, our biggest challenge has been getting little Xiao Liwu back into his bedroom in the afternoon.”
Xiao Liwu undergoes the regular exams to test his coordination, growth and development, according to the zoo. While the veterinarians keep track of his measurements and fans keep track of his cuteness, one online fan diagnosed a bigger problem.
“As far as the diagnosis, I’m wondering if perhaps the cuteness is chronic at this point,” wrote Leanne Rumsey.