National Zoo marks 50 years of panda conservation

STORY: To commemorate this momentous occasion, the Zoo’s in-residence giant panda family—24-year-old male Tian Tian, 23-year-old female Mei Xiang and their 19-month-old male cub Xiao Qi Ji received specially tailored fruitsicle cakes in honor of the “pandaversary.”

Keepers gave Mei Xiang and Xiao Qi Ji access to their habitat around 8:10 a.m., and the pandas approached the cake with deliberate speed. The base of the cake was made of frozen diluted apple juice and pineapple juice. It was decorated with a red “50” as well as sweet potato, apple, carrot, pear, sugar cane, banana and yellow groove bamboo. Tian Tian received an ornate cake that was similarly adorned.

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