WASHINGTON, November 29, China Daily -- Giant panda cub BeiBei is stable and recovering following an emergency bowel obstruction surgery on Friday to remove a dense, masticated lemon-sized mass of bamboo, the Smithsonian's National Zoo announced.

BeiBei showed signs of stomach discomfort and nausea last Thursday. The 15-month-old giant panda cub was sleeping more than normal and not eating. 

After close observation and care by zoo staff, he was taken to a veterinary hospital on Friday for further evaluation and then had the surgery to remove the bamboo that was distending his small intestine and preventing intestinal movement, the zoo said Friday. 

BeiBei is awake and recovering in the zoo's David M. Rubenstein Giant Panda Habitat. The animal is expected to resume his regular diet son, the zoo said. 

thumb Giant panda-11.29 Panda Bei Bei recovering well from surgery

The zoo posted on its Facebook on Sunday that as of this morning, BeiBei has taken his medications, urinated well and both Mei Xiang and BeiBei are happily sleeping in their indoor enclosures. 

BeiBei got his name in September last year when PengLiyuan and Michelle Obama, the first ladies of China and the United States, visited the zoo and named the then-1-month-old cub. 

He has become a new darling at the national zoo. On Nov 21, giant-panda keeper Nicole MacCorkle posted on the zoo's website about how BeiBei has become more independent from his mother, Mei Xiang. 

"It is hard to believe, but the time is rapidly approaching when he will live separately from her. He has a voracious appetite, and relies very little on milk from Mei Xiang. He weighs 90 pounds (the largest of Mei Xiang's three cubs at this age) and gets his own diet of bamboo, biscuits, apples, sweet potatoes and pears," wrote the giant panda keeper. 

She described Tai Shan, BeiBei's eldest sibling who has been living in China since early 2010, as "thriving". 

The zoo announced in October that BaoBao, another BeiBei sibling, will return to China early next year. Under bilateral agreement, all cubs born at the zoo move to China when they are 4 years old.BaoBao turns 4 on Aug 23, 2017.