The San Diego Zoo celebrated with Xiao Liwu, one of its giant pandas, who turned 2-years-old recently.
The male panda, whose name means little gift and is pronounced sshyaoww lee woo, enjoyed a four-foot, 100-pound ice cake decorated with some of his preferred foods including slices of apples, carrots and yams on his big day July 29.
“When he ate all the slices, he patiently waited for the ice to melt so he could eat the fruit frozen into the tiers. He later climbed on top of the cake and chewed on the bamboo stalks frozen inside the decorative elements before venturing off to check out his gifts, boxes filled with hay, alfalfa and pine shavings and scented with cinnamon,” the zoo said in a statement.
Affectionately known as Mr. Wu, keepers say the cub is extremely smart and precocious. He’s also laid back and gobbles down 15 to 20 pounds of bamboo a day. He weighs 88 pounds, but will max out at about 250 pounds. One of three giant pandas, including Xiao Liwu’s mother and father, all on loan from China, fans can watch them on the zoo’s panda cam.
French artist, Paulo Grangeon with the support of the WWF, created 1,600 papier-mache pandas to represent every panda alive in the wild and taken them on tour to raise awareness about the endangered species. The 1600 Paper Pandas Exhibition involves posing the sculptures in public places to provide a start reminder of the state of species in the wild. The exhibition has attracted worldwide attention.
Photos San Diego Zoo, 1600 Pandas/Facebook.