National Zoo celebrates Bao Bao the panda's first birthday

By Kyle Johnson,

The National Zoo is celebrating little Bao Bao the panda's first birthday in Washington, D.C. on Saturday.

To celebrate her birthday, the zoo will be treating the young panda to a cake made out of fruit, such as pears and apples, The Associated Press reports. The birthday also marks Bao Bao as only the second panda cub at the National Zoo to live to its first birthday.

Keeper Nicole MacCorkle says that the young panda cub isn't as friendly with zoo trainers as older brother Tai Shan - who returned to China four years ago - was. But, she is "getting really good" at recognizing her name and responding to trainers calls.

Bao Bao, which means "precious" or "treasure," is still quite shy in her enclosure, often found either in a certain hemlock tree sleeping or a sand pit containing a buoy she can play with.

For visitors to the zoo on Saturday, they will be treated to educational talks, and a Chinese noodle dish, dandan, will be available, according to The Washington Post.

The first event of the day, a Chinese traditional Zhuazhou ceremony, was open only to zoo and embassy officials. The ceremony features symbolic objects placed in front of a child, or in this case cub, on their first birthday and the object selected first is said to be important to the child when they get older.

Bao Bao ended up choosing a sign which represents long life and followed that one up with one representing good health.

image courtesy of Kristin Callahan/ACE/INFphoto.com

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