Teri Wilson
January 17, 2016 12:00 pm

Bei Bei the baby panda is stepping out, and it’s a big deal, you guys. A VERY BIG DEAL.

Bei Bei was born at the Smithsonian National Zoo back in August, along with a tiny twin panda who didn’t survive. Panda reproduction is notoriously complex and poses quite the challenge to zoos and conservation groups who are working to save this endangered species. So for five months now, animal lovers have been holding their collective breath and waiting for updates about Bei Bei’s development.

We’ve been able to see Bei Bei grow from the size of a stick of butter (legit cuteness) to a roly poly, fluffy panda cub by watching him on the zoo’s panda cam, where we even witnessed his first sneeze. But now, we can finally see Bei Bei in his adorable panda flesh! He’s moved from the nursery to the zoo’s panda enclosure. The general public got its first IRL glimpse of him yesterday. And even though Bei Bei pretty much slept through the entire ordeal, no one cared because he did it in that precious baby panda way that he does basically everything.

Bei Bei is a total star, whether he’s mid-snoozefest or caught in a rare moment of wakefulness. We love how all of his movements seem to be in slow, wobbly motion, like he can barely be bothered to hold his head up. (You do you, Bei Bei.)

Bei Bei is scheduled to live at the Smithsonian Zoo until his 4th birthday when he’ll move to China, and his stardom will no doubt go completely global as he fathers adorable panda babies and does his part to save the species. There are currently only about 1,600 pandas left in the wild and 300 or so in zoos and special breeding centers. You can learn more about pandas and panda conservation here.

[Images via Twitter.]

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