Pandas devour ice cake to have fun 50 years at Smithsonian Nationwide Zoo within the US


The “cake” was constructed from frozen fruit juice, candy potatoes, carrots and sugar cane and it lasted about quarter-hour as soon as large panda mama Mei Xiang and her cub Xiao Qi Ji obtained maintain of it.

Key factors:

  • The US Nationwide Zoo is marking 5 a long time of being house to pandas, after then-president Richard Nixon made an historic go to to China
  • The zoo’s unique 1972 panda pair, Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing, had been star points of interest on the zoo for many years
  • International breeding packages have introduced large pandas again from the brink of extinction

The US Nationwide Zoo’s most well-known tenants had an enthusiastic breakfast in entrance of adoring crowds because the zoo celebrated 50 years of the Smithsonian Institute’s panda trade settlement with the Chinese language authorities.

Xiao Qi Ji’s father Tian Tian largely sat out the morning festivities, munching bamboo in a neighbouring enclosure with the sounds of his chomping clearly audible throughout a press release by China’s ambassador in Washington, Qin Gang.

Mr Qin praised the bears as “an emblem of the friendship” between the nations.

Pandas are virtually fully solitary by nature and within the wild, Tian Tian would in all probability by no means even meet his little one. He acquired an analogous cake for lunch.

Zoo director Brandie Smith and Chinese language ambassador to the US Qin Gang pose with the cake.(AP: Jose Luis Magana)

The occasion hailed the 1972 settlement sparked by Richard Nixon’s landmark first go to by a sitting US president to communist China.

Mr Nixon visited China and met with chairman Mao Zedong, a key step in normalising relations between Washington and Beijing.

Through the go to, Chinese language premier Zhou Enlai gifted two pandas, Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing, as a gesture of goodwill to the American folks.


The Nationwide Zoo celebration additionally highlighted the success of the worldwide large panda breeding program, which has helped deliver the animal again from the brink of extinction.

Brandie Smith, director of the Nationwide Zoo, stated the pandas “signify how nice conservation outcomes may be achieved by nice partnerships with our Chinese language colleagues”.

“With the ability to introduce tons of of tens of millions of individuals worldwide to pandas and galvanizing them to care about their conservation for 5 a long time, coupled with our scientific breakthroughs, is a milestone really price celebrating,” she stated.

Pandemic panda beginning a ‘little miracle’

Xiao Qi Ji’s beginning in August 2020 was hailed as a near-miracle resulting from Mei Xiang’s superior age and the truth that zoo workers carried out the bogus insemination process underneath tight restrictions shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic shut the complete zoo.

At age 22, Mei Xiang was the oldest large panda to efficiently give beginning in the USA.

People pose for a photo with a giant panda statue Guests take photos with an enormous panda statue through the celebrations.(AP: Jose Luis Magana)

Usually, they’d have used a mix of frozen sperm and recent semen extracted from Tian Tian.

However zoo officers used solely frozen semen with a purpose to minimise the variety of close-quarters medical procedures.

“It was undoubtedly a long-shot being pregnant,” stated Bryan Amaral, the zoo’s senior curator for mammals.

In honour of that lengthy shot, the now 20-month-old cub was given a reputation that interprets as “little miracle”.


His mid-pandemic beginning sparked a recent wave of panda-mania, with viewership on the zoo’s panda-cam dwell stream spiking by 1,200 per cent.

“I understand how passionate individuals are about pandas,” Mr Amaral stated. “I am not stunned by that keenness in any respect.”

Crowds began streaming straight for the panda part when the zoo opened at 8am.

People crowd around to watch the pandas eat their cake The pandas are among the many hottest animals on the zoo.(AP: Jose Luis Magana)

Sisters Lorelai and Everley Greenwell, aged 6 and 5, ran towards the enclosure chanting “Pandas! Pandas!”

They watched the cub tumble round, attempt to wrestle his mum and tear the zero off the large 50 emblazoned on the frozen cake.

“They knew this was coming,” mom Kayleigh Greenwell stated of her ladies.

“We have been speaking about all of it week.”

The zoo’s unique 1972 panda pair, Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing, had been star points of interest on the zoo for many years and have become the longest-lived pandas in captivity, however panda pregnancies are notoriously difficult and none of their cubs survived.

Mei Xiang and Tian Tian arrived in 2000 and the pair has efficiently birthed three different cubs: Tai Shan, Bao Bao and Bei Bei — additionally by synthetic insemination.

All had been transported to China at age 4, underneath the phrases of the zoo’s settlement with the Chinese language authorities.

Comparable agreements with zoos world wide have helped revitalise the large panda inhabitants.

Down to only over 1,000 bears within the Eighties, the species has since been faraway from the lists of animals in peril of extinction.

House to play or pause, M to mute, left and proper arrows to hunt, up and down arrows for quantity.Play Video. Duration: 59 seconds Bob Hawke tries to carry a panda cub throughout a China go to in 1986.



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