Playful panda cub makes virtual debut at National Zoo in Washington

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(Reuters) - He may be a giant panda, but for now Xiao Qi Ji is still a baby, romping with toys and snacking on sweet potato, his first solid food.

The adorable cub made his debut virtually on Wednesday at the National Zoo in Washington, appearing live on 'Panda Cam' as the zoo is closed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

"Cooked sweet potato. It's nice and soft and is easy for him to eat," said zookeeper Marty Dearie, laughing as Xiao Qi Ji munched away.

Xiao Qi Ji is the son of Mei Xiang, who gave birth to him at the zoo, thrilling panda enthusiasts and zoo officials who thought at age 22 she had a slim chance of having a fourth healthy cub.

(Reporting by Katharine Jackson; editing by Diane Craft and Rosalba O'Brien)