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WASHINGTON, Aug. 27 (Xinhua) -- Several days after giant pandaBei Bei celebrated his 2nd birthday here at Smithsonian's NationalZoo, his father Tian Tian turned 20 years old on Sunday, a seniorbiological age for a giant panda, but he somehow managed to havekept his childhood alive.
It was a routine of the National Zoo to prepare a cake for agiant panda's birthday. Though it intended to keep it a lowprofile, many giant panda fans Authentic Willie Cauley-Stein Jersey , tourists and other visitors waitedat Tian Tian's yard before the Giant Panda Exhibit opened at 8 a.m.local time (1200 GMT).
Jim, a Washington D.C. local and the first visitor to theexhibit on Sunday, told Xinhua that he has been following thegrowth of giant pandas inside the National Zoo since he retired in2005 and he came on every birthday of them.
"It's Tian Tian's 20th birthday. It's a big occasion for him.That's why I am here," Jim said.
Born in 1997 in southwest China's Sichuan Province, Tian Tian,whose name means "More and More" in Chinese, is one of three giantpandas that now live in the National Zoo.
Tian Tian and female giant panda Mei Xiang made a buzz whenarriving here in early 2001. Ever since then Authentic Vlade Divac Jersey , the pair has givenbirth to three cubs named Tai Shan, Bao Bao, and Bei Bei that havelived for more than a few days.
Two-year-old male giant panda Bei Bei is now the only offspringin the zoo after Bei Bei's brother, Tai Shan, and his sister, BaoBao, moved to China Authentic Vince Carter Jersey , respectively in 2010 and early 2017, as per anagreement between the United States and China.
Many giant panda fans said mischievous, adorable andstrong-growing Bei Bei is a lot like his father.
Zoo employee Larry Howard said Tian Tian, also a good eater, is"reckless sometimes, energetic, curious and inspiring Authentic Skal Labissiere Jersey ," adding thatthe father and son look similar in both physical and personalaspects.
Recalling the first time seeing Tian Tian, Angela D. Wessel, whohas served as a volunteer for 40 years at the zoo, said, "Tian Tianwas more playful then because he was young."
"But Tian Tian is still the roly-poly that likes to roll downthe hill and play in the snow, the panda that he has always been,even at the age of twenty Authentic Peja Stojakovic Jersey ," Wessel said, "He is a lovablepanda."
The birthday cake for Tian Tian is more of a big Popsicle thatwould help him dispel a late-summer heat. Curator Brian Cannon saidthat the 40-pound frozen cake is made of mostly apple juice andwater, decorated with specially-shaped pears, bananas, carrots,sweet potatoes, among others Authentic Oscar Robertson Jersey , with a round-shaped ice disk paintedwith a "20" standing vertical on a colorful, multi-layered cakebase.
Curators also brushed some honey onto the cake to make it moreappealing to Tian Tian who did not wait for his audience to sing abirthday song for him later but went ahead for the frozen cake withboth his mouth and paws.
He went even further by straightforwardly tearing the ice diskfrom the base for his own convenience, a naughty move that sent allinto joyful laughter.
It seemed that Tian Tian is not the only one who has kept hischildhood alive. Jeremy Miller, who fell in love with giant pandassince childhood, told Xinhua that seeing Tian Tian reminded him ofhis first giant panda visit when he was 13 years old and wasbrought by his grandmother to exactly the same zoo.
"We stood here to be captivated and amazed and watched them,"Miller said, "My grandmother said it was time to go and I said 'no Authentic Mitch Richmond Jersey ,I want to see panda more'."
Giant pandas are beautiful, mysterious, unique and gentle bambooeaters who are aesthetically pleasing, he described. "They justhave an appeal that I cannot put into words, just fun towatch."
Miller, who brought his daughter with him to see Tian Tian's20th birthday, said he hoped his love for giant pandas could passon to younger family members.
According to the World Wildlife Fund Authentic Mike Bibby Jersey , the average lifespan ofgiant pandas is only 30 years in captivity and 14 to 20 years inthe wild, under which Tian Tian could be categorized as asenior-aged giant panda. The world's oldest panda is 37 years oldas of now.
Good news is that Tian Tian is in both good spirit andcondition. "He has got his treatments and medical examinations.Just by looking at him, you can tell he is (in) good health,"Howard said.
"Tian Tian's celebrating his 20th birthday is great. It meansthat we're doing our job. Keep them alive as a species," Wesselstressed.
"Those giant pandas at the zoo stand for U.S.-China friendshipand scientific effort to preserve them. They are big part ofscientific effort on both sides," he said. Enditem
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