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France’s playful baby panda makes 1st public appearance

Panda cub Yuan Meng explore its new enclosure during the cub's first public appearance on January 13, 2018 at The Beauval Zoo in Saint-Aignan-sur-Cher, central France. / AFP PHOTO / GUILLAUME SOUVANT

PARIS — France’s first baby panda has made his grand public entrance by acting like many five-month-olds — climbing all over his mother, who looked like she just wanted to rest instead.

Mostly hidden from view since his birth in August, the panda named Yuan Meng left his den on Saturday for his first public appearance. BFM TV video showed him endlessly crawling over his mother, who at one point gathered the black-and-white ball of fur to her side before he escaped again to climb over her.

French first lady Brigitte Macron, considered the panda’s “godmother,” announced the panda’s name at a ceremony in December at Beauval Zoo, south of Paris, attended by Chinese officials. It means “the realization of a wish” or “accomplishment of a dream.”