San Diego, California - The San Diego Zoo’s giant panda cub, Xiao Liwu, whose name means little gift, turns two years old on July 29. Media are invited to attend his birthday celebration.

Zoo nutritionists are creating an elaborate cake for the young cub made of ice, bamboo and some of his favorite fruits. While the cake will be festive and fun, it also serves as special enrichment for the panda. Enrichment in various forms is important, as it keeps our young panda stimulated and active, allowing him to show his natural behaviors. The birthday cub will receive other enrichment items, including boxes wrapped as gifts.

Animal care staff will put the cake and “gifts” in the panda exhibit on Tuesday morning for Xiao Liwu, affectionately called Mr. Wu by his keepers and admirers, just prior to the exhibit opening to the public at 9 a.m.

Giant pandas are on a research loan to the San Diego Zoo from the People’s Republic of China. The San Diego Zoo began its long-term panda loan in1996 and Xiao Liwu is the sixth panda born at the Zoo.