Beloved panda cub Bao Bao celebrates first birthday


Bao Bao panda cubBao Bao sits under the “longevity” poster during a Zhuazhou birthday ceremony on her first birthday celebration at the National Zoo on August 23, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Photo: AFP/Mandel Ngan)

A very special resident at Washington D.C.’s National Zoo marked a very special day this Saturday. Bao Bao, the zoo’s beloved panda club, turned one. CCTV America’s Frances Kuo reports.

Bao Bao typically doesn’t care for mornings, but on Saturday she had a big incentive to get up early.

Bao Bao, the darling of the U.S. National Zoo, marked her first birthday and got a party fit for a princess.

First came the Zhuazhou, a Chinese tradition where objects are placed in front of a baby. Each one is said to predict its future. In this case, there were posters with symbols painted on them, representing long life, good health, and fertility. It was a no-brainer for Bao Bao: She chose long life.

Then came the classic American birthday treat, a cake, though without candles and the calories. It was made mostly out of apple juice and some sugar cane.

It was arguably the perfect birthday bash for Bao Bao, blending both her Chinese roots and her extended American family.

“There’s such a love in the public in both countries of panda and this is also a very good example that our two countries should work together to preserve these endangered species,” said Cui Tiankai, the Chinese Ambassador to the U.S.

Bao Bao has been a favorite among visitors to the zoo ever since she was born. Her fans have tracked all her major milestones over the past year.

“To see her take her first steps was wonderful. It’s like a human child. Every day, there’s something new,” said National Zoo Director said Dennis Kelly.

On Aug. 23, 2013, Bao Bao was born as the happy outcome of mom Mei Xiang’s artificial insemination. Now, more than 40 pounds later, Bao Bao’s rock star status has grown.

Bao Bao will remain at the Washington, D.C. National Zoo until 2017.