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National Zoo celebrating panda's first birthday


WASHINGTON (AP) - The National Zoo in Washington is throwing a panda party.

Saturday marks the first birthday of panda cub Bao Bao, and she'll get a cake made from frozen fruit juice and other treats like pears and apples to celebrate. The cub is only the second panda born at the zoo to survive to her first birthday.

Bao Bao's only sibling, brother Tai Shan, was born in 2005 and returned to China in 2010. Panda keeper Nicole MacCorkle says Bao Bao has been a different baby from her brother, including a little more stand-offish with keepers.

In the past year she has grown from a wriggling pink newborn a little bigger than a stick of butter to a 44-pound black-and-white bundle whose favorite activity is sleeping in a tree. A hemlock tree in the front of her yard is one favorite, and she also likes wrestling with a blue cylinder-shaped buoy filled with sand, MacCorkle said. The cub, whose name means "precious" or "treasure," has also started eating solid food like sweet potato and bamboo and recently got her first taste of honey.

Panda Bao Bao Turns 1 at National Zoo

She's also learned behaviors that help keepers monitor her health including getting on a scale and standing up when asked. Lately, she's "getting really good" and responding when her name is called, MacCorkle said, and is exploring her yard a little more.

"She's really becoming an independent bear," MacCorkle said.

The next year will bring even more changes. Bao Bao will stop drinking her mother's milk and, like wild pandas of the same age, at between a year and a half and two years old she'll start living independently in her own enclosure. Eventually keepers will also teach her to present her paw to get blood drawn and lie down in order to get an ultrasound.

The National Zoo is one of only four zoos nationwide to have pandas, which are on loan from China. The zoo's first pair of pandas, Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing, were a gift from China following President Richard Nixon's historic 1972 visit to the country. The pair had five cubs while living at the zoo but none survived.

The zoo's current pandas, Bao Bao's mother and father, Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, arrived in 2000.


Follow Jessica Gresko at http://twitter.com/jessicagresko

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Mike August 24 2014 at 6:09 AM

Put some clothes on that thing. Everyone can see her business and DC girls could use a role model.

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madmazmazloum August 24 2014 at 9:33 AM


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ddstan1120 August 23 2014 at 5:00 PM

"Enough to make you say awe"?
Huffpo should know that it is against the law to hire third grade students to write headlines for their articles. Maybe a proofreader would be a good idea.

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vjcinpalmbeach August 23 2014 at 5:45 PM

I spend every day now that I'm able with our beautiful wildlife. The PANDA is the EPITOME of everything that was/is wrong with man.U[ until 2006, we had 2,000 pandas in the world.

Since that time, we have....you don't want to hear.......

Keep populating and thinking Nature won't WIN......

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Rae Turner August 23 2014 at 8:22 PM

I want to trade places with the panda.
what a life, just stand around looking cute and getting fed. wow what a life.

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marianicole62 August 23 2014 at 7:53 PM


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jeni August 24 2014 at 9:13 AM

I wonder what kind of cake it was and was the number edible too? I'm sure it was something yummy and healthy for the bear. Just wondering.

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joanpolsino jeni August 24 2014 at 9:23 AM

the article said it was frozen fruit juice and apples and pears and other healthy foods for her in the ice juice.

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Sonja August 23 2014 at 7:49 PM

this is a special gift from god, as long as we believe joy will endure on the end.
I live in MD , so the next trip to Zoo, I will visit the panda's section home.
looking forward.
ps. thanks to the All the zoo keeper and Vets for keeping this little bundle Alive.
Sincerly Sonja Wolff.

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I LOVE YOU JENNY August 23 2014 at 5:06 PM

Right on!!!!!!!! SUPER!!!!!!!!

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Tom & Carol's August 23 2014 at 4:46 PM

Happy 1st Bao Bao. I have been enjoying watching you grow on the panda cam. I hope the panda cam continues. Cute pictures of you on your Birthday.

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