Officials at Zoo Atlanta and DreamWorks Animation have issued a joint announcement that the only giant panda cub born in the U.S. in 2010 has a name: Po. The name is a tribute to the lead character, Po the panda, in the upcoming DreamWorks Animation film, Kung Fu Panda 2, which will be distributed by Paramount Pictures starting on May 26, 2011.
Jack Black, who voiced the iconic character of Po the panda in Kung Fu Panda – which grossed over $630 million at the worldwide box office – and who will reprise his role in the upcoming sequel, was present for the naming of the newborn panda cub.
“Today’s announcement is the beginning of an amazing alliance between Zoo Atlanta and DreamWorks Animation. Our organizations share a commitment to giant panda conservation, particularly at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding,” said Raymond B. King, President and CEO of Zoo Atlanta. “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.”
Giant pandas are among the world’s rarest mammals, with fewer than 1,600 believed to remain in the wild. The giant panda program at Zoo Atlanta supports conservation programs at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding and in nature reserves in China.
In the Kung Fu Panda films, Po is an unlikely hero challenged by preconceived notions of what a kung fu warrior should be. Following the likeable but clumsy Po and his allies on a series of adventures, the films celebrate the power of self-worth and the ability of an individual to affect positive change.
These themes are equally fitting for the giant panda cub. He is an ambassador for his species, helping to draw attention to the plight of giant pandas in the wild. Born to Lun Lun on November 3, 2010, the 3-month-old now known as Po is already proving to be a great ambassador. Followed by thousands of fans on the world-famous PandaCam presented by EarthCam, the cub is expected to make his public debut in late March or early April. View PandaCam at zooatlanta.org/panda_cam.