Panda Celebrates Second Birthday

Fans who watched him grow attended the party, where he behaved as two-year-olds do

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Lauren Steussy
    Yun Zi celebrated his birthday on Friday at the San Diego Zoo

    The so-called “Terrible Twos” isn’t just a term reserved for toddlers.

    Yun Zi, a giant panda at the San Diego Zoo, showed that even panda cubs get a little emotional at the tender age of two.

    The panda celebrated his second birthday at the zoo Friday, and true to form, threw a temper-tantrum in front of his loyal fans. He knocked over his birthday cake made of ice, bamboo and fruit just moments after keepers presented it to him.

    That kind of behavior is getting to be typical for Yun Zi, said Jennifer Becerra, senior panda keeper at the San Diego Zoo. She described Yun Zi as rambunctious, smart and a little destructive.

    “He started his terrible twos early when he destroyed his tree in his enclosure,” Becerra said. “So for his birthday we’re hoping for an artificial tree he can’t destroy.”

    Yun Zi, which means “son of cloud,” is on loan from China for another year. He is the fifth giant panda bear born at the San Diego Zoo.

    Many of those who attended his birthday party Friday have watched Yun Zi grow up from birth from the zoo’s live video feed of his enclosure.

    Rose Nowicki said although she didn’t get to see Yun Zi’s cake before he knocked it over, she won’t hold it against him.

    “We just love him. He’s adorable. We’ve watched him while he was in the den with his mom just a few days old. You fall in love with [the pandas]. I come to every birthday.”

    Brittany Bremer traveled from Utah just to celebrate Yun Zi’s birthday. She also watched him grow up on the web cam.

    “It was so nice to see him in real life – he’s so much older and bigger than the little baby we watched,” Bremer said.

    Yun Zi’s mother, Bai Yun (translated means “white cloud”) has given birth to a cub about every two years. Keepers at the zoo say though the time is ripe, she’s not pregnant yet. They’re keeping an eye on her though, and remain hopeful for a new addition to the giant panda family.