WASHINGTON – Not to be overshadowed by all the panda-monium —the birth of twin giant pandas at the National Zoo on Saturday—big sister Bao Bao celebrated her second birthday on Sunday.
Plenty of panda loving people came to her outdoor exhibit to help her celebrate, as she enjoyed a fruitcicle cake carved into the shape of a number two.
“I’m a 44-year-old panda loving maniac,” said Darrell Lee Martin .
Martin said Bao Bao helped him cope after his 9-month-old child was killed in an accident. He’s even been to China to visit with pandas.
“If you could have seen this big, 230 pound, bald-headed, tattooed guy crying, you would have had a picture to see,” Martin said.
Another family came all the way from Philadelphia. Their 4-month-old Isabella Chase was dressed in a panda outfit, all in honor of Bao Bao’s birthday.
For panda lovers, it seems Bao Bao’s two years have gone by fast. “She’s doing great,” said Don Neiffer, chief veterinarian at the zoo. “We’ve had absolutely no health concerns at all with her. She’s maturing and growing nicely.”
But it’s also a reminder that Bao Bao’s time at the National Zoo will come to an end.
“Our agreement with China, the loan agreement, stipulates that all cubs born here at the National Zoo will go to China at age 4,” Pamela Baker-Mason, a spokeswoman for the zoo, said.
On Saturday, Bao Bao’s mother Mei Xiang gave birth to twin giant panda cubs. Zoo officials said mom and cubs were doing well.
Unfortunately, Bao Bao and the cubs won’t know that they are family, Neiffer said.
Bao Bao won’t get to meet her new siblings, though they will be able to smell each other through a fence, Neiffer said. They also may get to see one another from afar.