The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Baby panda is T-shirt icon

Washington, Oct. 17 (Reuters): Only 100 days old, and already baby panda Tai Shan has his face on T-shirts at the US National Zoo, after a naming ceremony today punctuated by drumbeats, a clanging gong and Chinese lion dancers.

Tai Shan, meaning “peaceful mountain”, got his name according to Chinese custom and as the result of a public online contest in which more than 202,000 people voted.

The 6-kilogram guest of honour remained in seclusion with his mother, Mei Xiang, during the ceremony outside the zoo’s panda exhibit, as dignitaries from China offered their congratulations.

“The peoples of China and the US are brought closer together by the happiness of this panda family,” said Minister Zheng Zeguang, deputy chief of mission for the Chinese Embassy in Washington. “The 100th day is an important milestone in life. Let us hope that from this day on, Tai Shan will grow stronger and win the hearts of his American hosts.”

“Tai Shan is a result of the love between the two giant pandas Mei Xiang and Tian Tian and also represents the great feeling between the American and Chinese people,” Yan Xun, deputy director of China’s conservation department, said.

Tai Shan was conceived by artificial insemination after zoo scientists determined that Mei Xiang and Tian Tian did not successfully mate. The cub was born on July 9.

The zoo plans not to let people see him before December.

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