Zoo Staff Surprise Giant Panda
SAN DIEGO, CA — August 2, 2018
Giant panda Xiao Liwu celebrated his sixth 'Super Hero for Wildlife' birthday at the San Diego Zoo.
Zoo staff presented the animal with a real holiday with papier-mache lanterns and party bags filled with yummy treats like bamboo bread cupcakes.
Liwu, who’s on loan from the People's Republic of China under a landmark conservation program that began in 1996 with the arrival of Bai Yun and her then-mate, Shi Shi., loved munching on the food and even popped some of the balloons. Volunteers made papier-mâché lanterns inscribed with conservation messages.
The conservation program has uncovered much about panda biology, especially about reproduction.
The zoo hopes to draw attention to habitat loss and provide education about the animal's natural home.
It is known that at least 2,000 giant pandas now live in their native habitat in central China. The species is listed as vulnerable. It had long been listed as endangered, but its status was upgraded in 2016 by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).