About Us Contact Us Privacy Policy
© GOOD Worldwide Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Smithsonian's National Zoo treats beloved panda to multi-tiered fruitsicle cake for 26th birthday

Tian Tian turned 26 and celebrated his special day with a fruitsicle cake from the Washington, D.C. zoo's Department of Nutrition Science.

Smithsonian's National Zoo treats beloved panda to multi-tiered fruitsicle cake for 26th birthday
Cover Image Source: YouTube | Smithsonian's National Zoo

We all enjoy our birthdays and it is no different for the Smithsonian's National Zoo pandas. On August 27, Tian Tian the giant panda turned 26 and celebrated his special day with a fruitsicle cake by the Washington, D.C., zoo's Department of Nutrition Science.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Photo by Diana Silaraja
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Photo by Diana Silaraja

According to a press release, "Commissary keepers crafted the multi-tiered cake and '26' topper using frozen diluted apple and pineapple juices. The treat was 'frosted' with a mixture of mashed sweet potatoes, mashed carrots and honey. Keepers decorated the tiers with apples." A video shared by the zoo's official website and YouTube account shows Tian Tian turning the cake on the ground and enjoying multiple bites of it.

The multi-tiered pink and green dessert had been decorated with pears, bananas, apples, carrots, sweet potatoes and bamboo springs. This would also be Tian Tian's final birthday at the Smithsonian's National Zoo. Tian Tian and their 3-year-old son, Xiao Qi Ji, will leave the zoo in December.


Tian Tian was born in the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda and has lived at the Smithsonian's National Zoo since December 6, 2000. This was a part of an agreement with the Conservation Biology Institute and the China Wildlife and Conservation Association (CWCA), according to the Smithsonian. In 2020, the zoo officials signed in favor of a 3-year-old extension and would keep Tian Tian and his family in conservation till 2023. Xiao Qi Ji was also treated for his birthday, just a few days ago. To bid adieu to these pandas, the zoo is planning a "Panda Palooza", which will take place from September 23 to October 1. 


“Our long-standing collaboration with Chinese colleagues to study, care for and save the giant panda will now pass the half-century mark,” said Steve Monfort, John and Adrienne Mars, Directors of the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute. “Through the power of science and cooperation, and with the support of the public and benefactors like David Rubenstein, our work on behalf of this beloved bear species continues. Along with millions of Americans, I look forward to the next three years, watching Xiao Qi Ji grow and make further strides in conservation and in our understanding of giant pandas.”

“Giant pandas are an incredible species that still need our help,” Rubenstein said. “Supporting the Zoo’s giant panda conservation program is very rewarding.”


In another interesting story about a zoo, when newborn gorilla Kaius did not have the support of his biological parents, he found his guardian angel in the form of zookeeper Chad Staples. According to CNN, Kaius was raised by the zookeeper and the experience is one that he will cherish forever. Staples, the director of the Mogo Wildlife Park, has grown popular due to his unique experience with Kaius. The director told CNN that when Kaius was born, he seemed fine. However, the mother gorilla had concerning issues post-delivery owing to which she could not take care of Kaius.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Zookeeper Chad (@zookeeper_chad)


Staples said, “They basically walked straight over to him, looked at him and then walked away. Then they proceeded to step over him to get food and were sort of interested but not interested like we had expected.” The vets diagnosed him with sepsis pneumonia. Staples was heartbroken at this news and took Kaius on his chest and stayed up with him all night. “That was what gave him the most comfort and got his heart rate and breathing under control, just that skin-to-skin contact and feeling the heartbeat as he would from his mom,” Staples said. What a heartwarming bond!

More Stories on Scoop