SD Zoo throws birthday party for panda Xiao Liwu

Posted at 3:58 PM, Jul 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-29 19:01:17-04

SAN DIEGO - The San Diego Zoo threw a birthday party for one of its giant pandas Friday by filling his exhibit with decorated gift boxes and treats.

Xiao Liwu, who turned 4, was given presents made by volunteers. They included painted and embellished gift boxes that were filled by keepers with various enrichment items, including alfalfa and burlap sacks covered in cinnamon.

Keepers also created an ice cake flavored with strawberry-kiwi and fruit punch drink mix, pureed yams, carrots, apples and honey. The cake was topped with apples and four bamboo sticks that resembled candles.

Xiao Liwu, also known as "Mr. Wu" to his keepers and fans, is the sixth panda born at the San Diego Zoo. He is the sixth cub born to mother Bai Yun and the fifth cub fathered by male Gao Gao.

His party was witnessed by dozens of early morning guests at the zoo and viewed by a worldwide audience via its online Panda Cam.

The San Diego Zoo is home to three giant pandas, on loan from the People's Republic of China for conservation studies of the endangered species.