News & Politics

National Zoo Panda Cub Celebrates Second Birthday With Fruit Cake

Cake for breakfast — it’s okay as long as its your birthday.

Panda cub celebrates his second birthday with a fruitsicle cake. Photographs by David Andrews

Cake was on the menu this morning at the National Zoo, where giant panda cub Xiao Qi Ji celebrated his second birthday by chowing down on a panda-friendly fruitsicle cake at 9 AM.


The Sunday morning crowd gathered in anticipation and sang “Happy Birthday” when the fruity confection was brought out for the panda.

Xiao Qi Ji’s mother, 24-year-old Mei Xiang, was also invited to the festivities, but Xiao Qi Ji had the cake all to himself for at least the first 30 minutes. Unlike most two year-olds, Xiao Qi Ji took a neat approach to his treat, sniffing around and surgically slicing individual bananas and pears off the mound of frozen fruit.

The celebration is part of a 50 year “Pandaversary” commemorating Giant Pandas at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute, and their “unprecedented achievement in the care, conservation, breeding, and study of giant pandas.”

Since we’re celebrating Xiao Qi Ji’s birthday, here is some footage of his ultrasound, birth, and first birthday party last year.

Itching for more Panda content? Here’s an 11-video playlist of panda footage curated by the Smithsonian.

Or, keep an eye on the zoo’s Giant Panda Cam to see what Tian Tian, Mei Xiang and Xiao Qi Ji are up to.

Editorial Fellow