For Release: July 9, 2006
John Gibbons (202) 633-3083 or (202) 391-4231
Peper Long (202) 633-3082 or (202) 391-2471
National Zoo Celebrates Tai Shan's First Birthday at the Fujifilm Giant Panda Habitat
The Smithsonian's National Zoo and Friends of the National Zoo (FONZ) will celebrate the first birthday for Tai Shan (tie-SHON), the Zoo's giant panda cub, on Sunday, July 9 at the Fujifilm Giant Panda Habitat. Visitors are invited to enjoy the day's festivities, which will include traditional Chinese dancers and music, talks by panda keepers and scientists, refreshments and crafts activities.
For his big day, Tai Shan will get a special presenta custom-made frozen treat, prepared by National Zoo nutritionists. The treat is made of bamboo leaves, carrots, pears, beets, apples and a touch of apple juice suspended in ice. National Zoo nutritionists use frozen treats as a unique way of presenting foods the pandas would normally get as part of their regular diet.
Celebrating with Tai Shan will be lead corporate sponsor Fujifilm, and exclusive media sponsor Animal Planet. Fujifilm has contributed more than $8 million to the National Zoo for giant panda conservation and education programs and a new, state-of-the-art expanded giant panda habitat that will open in September. Animal Planet has contributed $5 million to the National Zoo's giant panda conservation programs helping to save the species in the wild.
Also celebrating the day will be Zoo panda partners FedEx Corp., Panda Express, the Washington Mystics and Whole Foods Market.
In cooperation with FONZ, Fireside Books/Simon & Schuster is marking Tai Shan's first year by publishing a new book with 50 photographs called Panda Cam: A Nation Watches Tai Shan the Panda Cub Grow. Royalties from book sales will go to the Zoo's giant panda program.
Tai Shan, whose name means peaceful mountain in Chinese, was born July 9, 2005, at 3:41 a.m. He weighed only a few ounces at birth, but is now 56 pounds. He is the first cub for both mother Mei Xiang (may-SHONG), and father Tian Tian (tee-YEN tee-YEN). He was conceived through artificial insemination on March 11, 2005, in a procedure performed by National Zoo scientists and veterinarians.
Since his public debut in December 2005, Tai Shan has delighted an estimated 1.2 million visitors who have come to the National Zoo to see him in person. He also has touched fans from around the world through the Zoo's giant panda Web site, which has drawn about 2 million visits each month since the cub's birth.
Tai Shan's First Year Milestones
July 9: At 3:41 a.m. Mei Xiang gives birth to the National Zoo's first surviving panda cub.
July 20: The cub begins to develop black and white markings.
Aug. 2: Veterinarians conduct the cub's first health exam and determine that he is a male.
Aug. 25: The cub opens his eyes for the first time.
Oct. 17: The cub is given his official name, Tai Shan, at a special naming ceremony. "Tai Shan" means peaceful mountain in Chinese.
Dec. 22: Tai Shan goes outside for the first time.
Jan. 9: Tai Shan turns 6 months old and weighs 27 pounds.
Jan. 30: Tai Shan climbs up a tree for the first time.
Feb 12: Tai Shan plays outside in the snow for the first time.
March 27: Tai Shan begins to eat bamboo.
May 17: Tai Shan reaches the 50-pound mark.
June 1: Tai Shan enters the pool in his yard for the first time.
Note to editors: For more information and photos about Tai Shan's first year, see the following Web sites:
National Zoo Web site: http://nationalzoo.si.edu
Tai Shan's Birthday Celebration
July 9, 2006
Schedule of Events
10 a.m.–2 p.m.
Public activities include the following:
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