Bao Bao did a no-no and the shock sent her scrambling up a tree.
The giant panda cub at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C. touched a “hot wire” in her yard, part of a warning system used by the zoo to show animals their boundaries, the zoo said.
The shocking experience sent Bao Bao (pronounced bow-BOW) up a tree Tuesday afternoon.
The 16-month-old cub climbed to a limb where she felt safe and was still perched there on Wednesday, visible on the zoo’s livestream cam.
After the gentle shock, zookeepers gave the cub’s mother, Mei Xiang, access to the outdoor yard, and she spent the night keeping an eye on Bao Bao, “a likely scenario for a mother panda to stay with her cub in the wild,” the zoo said on its Facebook page.
A zookeeper also spent the night in the panda house “just in case they decided to come inside,” the zoo said.
The jolt is a part of life for growing animals in the zoo.
“This is a safe warning system used by zoos for containment,” the National Zoo said. “Bao Bao is perfectly fine and like all Zoo animals, she is still learning the boundaries of her habitat.”
Many people commented about the event on the zoo’s Facebook page.
“What amazed me is the deep concern of Mei Xiang, pacing throughout the yard and sleeping near her little one in the night rain, barely eating inside today, persistently pacing the yard and checking on BB. Her bond with and care for BB is quintessential momma bear. Hope her anxiety and restlessness can be alleviated soon,” Heather S. Sonntag wrote.
Wrote Chris Nielsen Berg: “Sounds like life with teenagers, who test the limits, stay out all night, and cause their parents no end of worry!”
The zoo reassured the world that the cub will return to the ground, sooner or later.
“The staff are adjusting the pandas’ routine today and are confident that Bao Bao will come down when she is ready,” the zoo said.
The cub’s name means “precious treasure” in Mandarin.