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Washington Zoo's Baby Panda, Bao Bao Celebrates Birthday

  • VOA News

Giant Panda Bao Bao celebrates her first birthday, Aug. 23, 2014. (Photo: Smithsonian's National Zoo)

Giant Panda Bao Bao celebrates her first birthday, Aug. 23, 2014. (Photo: Smithsonian's National Zoo)

The National Zoo in Washington is marking a milestone for its star attraction. Saturday is panda cub Bao Bao's first birthday.

The zoo and the Chinese embassy celebrated the occasion with a traditional Zhuazhou ceremony, in which a baby is presented with symbolic objects. The item the baby reaches for first has meaning for the child's future.

The zoo says that of three posters placed in front of her, Bao Bao chose the peaches, a Chinese symbol for longevity.

National Zoo Director Dennis Kelly says Bao Bao's birthday is a celebration of one of the zoo's "biggest conservation successes" adding that "she represents decades of collaboration between American and Chinese scientists."

As part of her public party Saturday, Bao Bao is receiving a tiered birthday cake made of frozen apple juice and other treats, including apple and pear slices. (click here to see more photos of Bao Bao)

The zoo is calling on panda fans to show their support for Bao Bao and panda conservation using the hashtag #BaoBaoBday.

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The National Zoo is one of only four U.S. zoos exhibiting pandas, which are on loan from China.

When Bao Bao is four years old, she will be sent to China to enter the breeding program for giant pandas. Her brother, Tai Shan, was born in 2005 and returned to China in 2010.

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