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Tao Tao Celebrates Her 34th Birthday
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Tao Tao, a female panda, eats a peach-shaped birthday cake during a celebration to mark her 34th birthday at a park in Jinan, east China's Shandong Province October 26, 2006. Tao Tao is the oldest panda in China and is in good health. The characters on the cake read 'Tao Tao is thirty-four years old.'


Zoo keepers in east China's Shandong Province held a birthday party Thursday for a 34-year-old female giant panda who has been living in the zoo for 12 years.


Tao Tao, in the zoo of Jinan, the provincial capital, was presented with a big cream-made cake in the shape of a peach which signifies longevity in Chinese culture.


She ate a little of the cake and all the bamboo leaves under it. Dozens of students from a local primary school sang a happy-birthday song for her.


Tao Tao also seemed quite excited and displayed different postures for photographers following the orders of her keepers.


"The average life-span of giant pandas is usually less than 30 years. Tao Tao has been the oldest one alive under artificial breeding in China," said Zhou Baohui, a keeper of the zoo.


Tao Tao came to the zoo in 1994 from a nature reserve of northwest China's Gansu Province. She has no children.


"She still has a good appetite," Zhou said. "Besides bamboo leaves, she eats two eggs and drinks 1.25 kilograms of milk a day."


The giant panda is one of the most endangered species in the world and is only found in China.


There are about 1,590 giant pandas living in the wild in China and more than 190 giant pandas living in captivity in the world.




(Xinhua News Agency/China Daily October 27, 2006)

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