France's First Panda Cub Makes Public Debut

France's first panda cub has made its first public appearance, thrilling onlookers on Jan. 13 at the Zoo Parc de Beauval, People reports.

Yuan Meng was happy to explore his new enclosure but made sure to stick close to mom throughout his foray. He climbed rocks, made his way through dirt and even took a few falls, but bounced back each time with enthusiasm.

The panda cub is the first to be born in a French zoo and is now five months old. He arrived on Aug. 5 to parents Huan Huan and Yuan Zi, who are both on loan to the Beauval zoo from China. HuanHuan and Yuan Zi arrived at the zoo in 2012 after negotiations between Beijing and Paris, and it was five years before Yuan Meng was conceived via artificial insemination, DW shares.

Yuan Meng 2
(Photo: Getty / Guillaume Souvant)

Yuan Meng was born along with his twin, who died shortly after birth.

While plenty of Yuan Meng's fans were on hand to mark the occasion, one person who wasn't there was his godmother, France's first lady Brigette Macron. Macron met the cub for the first time in December, when his name was announced.

Those who did journey to see the cub found the adventure well worth it.

"We got up at three in the morning," shared an onlooker named Delphine, who traveled from the Paris area. "My son absolutely wanted to see the cub. We felt we took part in a historic moment. It was very moving."


Yuan Meng is part of China's panda conservation work and will move to China in a few years to live at a conservation base with other pandas.

Photo Credit: Getty / Guillaume Souvant