(ENDANGERED SPECIES/PANDAS) The Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, D.C. is just days away from allowing the public to see baby panda Bao Bao for the first time.

Bao Bao was born on August 23, 2013, and is now almost five months old.

Pandas are the rarest bear in the world and one of the world’s most threatened animals. The birth of Bao Bao adds a new member to the many breeding and conservation programs aimed at saving the rare species.

Take a peek at the gallery below to catch an early glimpse of the precious new panda cub before the world gets to see her in person on January 18.

The public voted for the name Bao Bao, which means "precious" or "treasure" in Mandarin. Photo Credit: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images
She's still growing! Bao Bao is now 17 pounds. She was born at 4.8 ounces. Photo Credit: Charles Dharapak / AP
She's proven to be very tough. Zookeepers say "she's just really like a mini tank." Photo Credit: Charles Dharapak / AP
Bao Bao sleeps about 20 hours a day. Photo Credit: Charles Dharapak / AP

Watch the TODAY video clip below for a sneak peek of baby Bao Bao as she prepares for her public debut.

More TODAY: http://www.today.com/pets/precious-panda-5-fun-facts-plus-pics-new-baby-bao-2D11876838

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