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Panda bear celebrates 1st birthday with juice cake

A panda bear cub celebrated first birthday with a special cake and traditional Chinese gifts at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington.

Bao Bao at the Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington. Credit: Reuters

Bao Bao, a 44-pound female, is the second panda in the zoo's history to live a full year, as the endangered species produce tiny and delicate offspring that are often unable to survive infancy, zoo spokeswoman Devon Murphy said.

"Today, we are celebrating one of our biggest conservation successes," Dennis Kelly, director of the National Zoo, said.

Bao Bao celebrates her first birthday. Credit: Reuters

For her birthday, Bao Bao received a tiered cake made of frozen apple juice and pictures of peaches and bamboo, symbolizing longevity and good heath.

Most of the world's 1,600 giant wild pandas live in bamboo forests in central China.

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Edinburgh pandas ready to mate 'within two weeks'

The giant pandas at Edinburgh Zoo will be ready to mate within two weeks, keepers have revealed.

They hope Tian Tian and the zoo's male panda Yang Guang will produce a cub this year as the creatures both start to show the tell-tale signs that they are ready to breed.

There was disappointment last year when the pair did not mate, and although Tian Tian was artificially inseminated, she lost her foetus at late term.

Tian Tian, in her enclosure. Credit: David Cheskin/PA Wire

Experts will watch Tian Tian's behaviour closely to gauge when her 36-hour breeding window begins.

Tian Tian (Sweetie) and Yang Guang (Sunshine) are the first giant pandas to live in the UK for 17 years. They arrived on loan from China in December 2011 and will remain at Edinburgh Zoo for a decade.

Mating season approaches for Edinburgh's pandas

Edinburgh Zoo's giant panda, Tian Tian. Credit: David Cheskin/PA Archive

Zoo keepers have begun a daily monitoring of the UK's giant panda couple as mating season approaches.

Edinburgh Zoo hopes Tian Tian and Yang Guang will produce a cub this year as the creatures start to show the tell-tale signs they are ready to breed.

There was disappointment last year when the pair did not mate and though Tian Tian was artificially inseminated she lost her foetus at late term.

Panda reproduction is a notoriously tricky process, with females only ovulating once a year.

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