News

Panda's Big Day

Kung Fu Panda star Jack Black helps name Zoo Atlanta's 3-month-old panda cub

February 18, 2011

Zoo Atlanta's giant panda cub reached a big milestone on February 15. The furry little guy turned 100 days old and received a name, Po. Sound familiar? That's because the 3-month-old cub was named after Po the warrior panda, from DreamWorks' hit animated movie Kung Fu Panda and its sequel, in theaters May 26.

Kung Fu Panda star Jack Black poses with local schoolchildren at the naming ceremony for Zoo Atlanta's newest giant panda cub on February 15.
POUYA DIANAT—PARAMOUNT/GETTY IMAGES
Kung Fu Panda star Jack Black poses with local schoolchildren at the naming ceremony for Zoo Atlanta's newest giant panda cub on February 15.

Comedian Jack Black, who voices Po in the movies, was on hand to meet his character's namesake at a special ceremony at the zoo, in Atlanta, Georgia. "We are proud and honored to share this moment with Jack Black, who has already helped to bring the importance of saving this species to a new generation of conservationists," said Raymond B. King, president and head of Zoo Atlanta, on Tuesday.

Following Tradition

It's Chinese tradition to wait 100 days before naming a giant panda cub. Po was born on November 3, 2010, to Zoo Atlanta's female giant panda, Lun Lun. The baby boy is the mama bear's third cub. He is also the only giant panda to be born in the United States last year.

In previous years, zoo officials have held contests for the public to vote on panda cub names. But this year, Zoo Atlanta teamed up with DreamWorks to bring more attention to the plight of the bears. Giant pandas are one of the most endangered species in the world. There are about 1,600 living in the wild.

DreamWorks is donating money to the zoo's panda conservation program in return for the name. "This is the beginning of an amazing alliance between Zoo Atlanta and DreamWorks Animation," said King. "Our organizations share a commitment to giant panda conservation, particularly at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding."

Baby Po is expected to make his public debut at the zoo in late March or early April. In the meantime, fans can pay a virtual visit to the zoo's pandas by going to zooatlanta.org/pandacam.


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