Vienna's giant panda Yuan Yuan to celebrate 20th birthday


(Photo: VCG)

VIENNA, Aug. 22 (Xinhua) -- The giant panda Yuan Yuan based at the Schonbrunn Zoo in Vienna, Austria, is set to turn 20 years old on Friday with celebrations having already begun, according to the zoo.

The zoo said Yuan Yuan has received some of his birthday gifts a day early.

While he was given many kinds of food such as bamboo shoots and corn stalks, it was bamboo bread in the shape of a cake that took his immediate interest, according to animal keeper Renate Haider, who said he ate it "to the last crumb."

The 120-kg panda, who was brought to the zoo from his native China in April as a mate for female Yang Yang, will receive more on his actual birthday.

The zoo said Yang Yang, who has been at the zoo since 2003, had watched the festivities from her neighboring enclosure. She had herself turned 19 on Aug. 10.

The two live separately outside of mating season due to pandas being solitary animals by nature. While they are able to have some contact through the barrier between their enclosures, the zoo said the coming spring will tell if the two bond and produce new offspring.