America's giant panda twins turn 1

America's giant panda twins turn 1

ATLANTA, GA (WALB) - Ya Lun and Xi Lun, who live at Zoo Atlanta, will celebrate their first birthday Sunday, September 3, and the zoo is having a big celebration, for the only giant panda twins in America.

Festivities will include three days of special admission offers, a giant of a giant panda birthday surprise on the twins' big day, a chance to tune in live for an advance sneak-peek at the secrets of giant panda cake making, and much more.

Birthday special offers: From Saturday, September 2 through Labor Day on Monday, September 4, wear black-and-white to get $5 off your ticket price. The offer is valid in-person only at Zoo Atlanta Admissions and is not valid online.

Also from Saturday, September 2 through Monday, September 4, receive 10 percent off purchases of Dippin' Dots Pandamonium Crunch at Dippin' Dots locations within the Zoo.

On the twins' big day on Sunday, September 3:  Ya Lun and Xi Lun will receive birthday surprises – including ice cake creations built at the Zoo by celebrity panda pop-maker King of Pops – between 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. in The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation Giant Panda Conservation Center.

You can make your own birthday greetings for the twins from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Born 47 minutes apart on September 3, 2016, Ya Lun and Xi Lun are the sixth and seventh offspring of Lun Lun, 20, and Yang Yang, 19.

The pair, whose names together mean "Lun Lun's elegant and happy daughters," are ambassadors for Zoo Atlanta's most significant long-term investment in wildlife conservation. Fewer than 1,900 giant pandas are estimated to remain the wild in China's Sichuan, Shaanxi and Gansu provinces. Of these, more than 1,200 live inside nature reserves, eight of which are supported by Zoo Atlanta.

Although the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) downgraded the species' status from "endangered" to "vulnerable" in 2016, giant pandas remain heavily reliant on conservation programs. Their threats include habitat fragmentation and habitat loss as a result of deforestation and other human activities.

You can tune in to Zoo Atlanta Facebook at 12 p.m. EST on Thursday, August 31, for a live-broadcast look at the making of Ya Lun's and Xi Lun's ice cakes from behind the scenes in the Zoo's Animal Nutrition Kitchen.

Visit the birthday pair and their parents in the Zoo's Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation Giant Panda Conservation Center, or tune in to PandaCam hosted by Animal Planet L!VE. 

(With information from Zoo Atlanta?)

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