Tanabe, Wakayama Pref. – A giant panda in a zoo in western Japan celebrated his 28th birthday, considered akin to over 80 years old in human years, on Monday with a cake made of ice and bamboo decorations adorning his enclosure.
Male panda Eimei, born in Beijing, was recognized in 2014 as the world’s oldest giant panda in captivity to produce offspring through natural breeding, according to the Adventure World zoo in Wakayama Prefecture.
Since his arrival from China on Sept. 6, 1994, he has fathered 15 cubs at the zoo, and 11 of them have been returned to China, it said.
The zoo gave the popular animal decorations made of 28 bamboo sticks to wish for his longevity and prosperity.
“Staff and visitors have been encouraged by his liveliness,” said Hinako Fukuda, a 24-year-old zookeeper. “With the bamboo, given that it grows fast and straight, we made a wish he will continue to have a long and healthy life.”
The zoo’s biggest celebrity ate his birthday present in the facility’s exercise area.
Eimei was confirmed to have mated with Rauhin in June, with the mother of nine of his 15 cubs expected to give birth this fall, according to the zoo.
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