News

How does a panda celebrate a birthday? With cake, of course

How does a panda celebrate a birthday? With cake, of course

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Panda cub Bao Bao tastes her birthday cake at the National Zoo in Washington, Saturday, Aug. 23. Bao Bao's first birthday was celebrated at the zoo with a traditional 'Zhuazhou' ceremony, a Chinese birthday tradition symbolizing long life to mark the event. Photo: Associated Press/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

(Reuters) – A rambunctious panda bear cub celebrated a rare first birthday with a special cake and traditional Chinese gifts at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington on Saturday, zoo officials said.

Bao Bao, a 44-pound female, is the second panda in the zoo’s history to live a full year, as the endangered species produce tiny and delicate offspring that are often unable to survive infancy, zoo spokeswoman Devon Murphy said.

“Today, we are celebrating one of our biggest conservation successes,” Dennis Kelly, director of the National Zoo, said in a statement. “It’s been amazing for us, our members and all of Washington, D.C., to watch Bao Bao thrive and grow.”

For her birthday, Bao Bao received several items, including pictures of peaches and bamboo, symbolizing longevity and good heath as part of the Chinese tradition of Zhuazhou, the zoo said.

Most of the world’s 1,600 giant wild pandas live in bamboo forests in central China.

Bao Bao was also able to feast on a tiered cake made of frozen apple juice, dyed shades of pink using beet juice, and apple and pear slices, some of her favorite foods, the zoo said.

The cake was decorated with flower shapes carved from carrots and sweet potatoes, and had a large number “1” carved out of frozen juice on top.

Bao Bao, who can been seen in live “panda cam” footage exploring her exhibit at the zoo, is to travel to China and enter the breeding program for giant pandas when she is four years old, the zoo said.

The National Zoo has studied pandas since 1972, and has seen the birth of seven cubs, Murphy said.

(Reporting by Laila Kearney; Editing by Dan Grebler)

Recent Headlines

in Entertainment

‘Downton Abbey’ eyes ’70s revival

downtonabbey

The show could come back and be set in the disco era.

in Entertainment

The best April Fools’ Day pranks by companies

pacmanmaps

Google Panda, the Samsung smart knife, and more: Because even corporate America likes to pull one over on us.

in Music, Entertainment

Rihanna isn’t dating Leonardo DiCaprio … she swears

rihanna

The "Diamonds" hitmaker and the actor have been spotted at several events together, but she swears she's "too busy" to date.

in Music

That ‘new’ Zayn Malik song is actually an old demo

zaynmalik

The pop star's reported first solo song after quitting One Direction has been revealed as an old demo track by the boy band.

in Entertainment

Mark Wahlberg plans movie about Boston Marathon bombing

bostonbomber

The Massachusetts-born actor is set to produce a movie based on the horrific 2013 attacks.