This morning, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute celebrated giant panda cub Xiao Qi Ji’s (SHIAU-chi-ji) second birthday. Keepers in the Department of Nutrition Sciences created a cake made of frozen diluted apple and pineapple juices. It was decorated with a red “2” as well as sweet potato, apple, carrot, pear, sugar cane, banana and bamboo. His father, 24-year-old male Tian Tian (tee-YEN tee-YEN), will celebrate his 25th birthday next Saturday, Aug. 27. In addition to attending the event in person, the public watched the pandas enjoy their cake live on the Zoo’s Giant Panda Cam, sponsored by Boeing.
This year, the Zoo is celebrating 50 years of unprecedented achievement in the care, conservation, breeding and study of giant pandas. Over the past five decades, the Zoo’s bears have become international icons, beloved both for their adorable antics and their ability to bring colleagues from the United States and China together to collaborate for a common goal: saving the species from extinction. From April 16 through the end of August the Zoo is hosting online and on-site events in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the giant panda program. Details on the events are available on the Zoo’s website. Follow giant panda updates on the Zoo’s social media on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using the hashtags #Pandaversary and #GP50.
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