By Monica Garske
From: NBC 7 San Diego
For the past few days all eyes have been on the newest baby panda born at the San Diego Zoo, but on Wednesday, it was another panda’s turn to shine.
The zoo kicked off giant panda Yun Zi’s birthday week with a special two-tiered cake made of ice and topped with “panda cupcakes” made from yams and ground herbivore biscuits. Yun Zi’s name was spelled out in bamboo leaves on the second tier of the ice cake.
Yun Zi officially turns three years old on Sunday and zoo staffers have an eventful week of special birthday activities planned for the lucky panda.
Yun Zi was born in 2009 and is at the San Diego Zoo on a research loan from China.
In three years, the panda has grown to weigh 180-pounds, according to zoo officials.
Last year – during his “terrible twos” phase — zookeepers described the playful panda as rambunctious, smart and a little destructive.
During his second birthday last year, Yun Zi memorably knocked over his birthday cake just moments after zookeepers presented it to him, as if throwing a mini toddler temper tantrum.
This year, the more mature three-year-old ate his cake like a big boy, starting with the cupcakes before tearing open some surrounding presents that were also filled with food.
Zookeepers said he then moved on to eating bamboo in a perch, presumably waiting for the cake to melt so he could continue eating his treats more easily.
Yun Zi will continue sharing the limelight at the zoo throughout the week with beloved new mommy Bai Yun, who famously gave birth to her sixth panda cub on Sunday.
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