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The two replaced the zoo’s first pair of pandas, Ling Ling and Hsing Hsing, who produced five cubs that did not survive.

Tai Shan, who became wildly popular with zoo visitors, was supposed to be sent to China two years after he was born but got an extension to stay in Washington until February 2010.

But the popularity of the siblings is about where the similarities end, Ms. MaCorkle said.

With Tai Shan, keepers were “very hands-off,” she said. Only some supervisory contact was allowed in the den area.

When keepers did interact with Tai Shan, he was “always interested in approaching us,” the animal keeper said.

“We were a novelty to Tai,” Ms. MacCorkle said. “Bao Bao, we’ve always been a part of it. We’re not anything special.”

The more hands-on approach stems in part from the 2012 death of a week-old cub, which had underdeveloped lungs and liver damage. Two days after Bao Bao’s birth, she was weighed and measured by doctors and checked to ensure she was breathing properly.

Any anxiety over the survival of Bao Bao seems to have dissipated as the cub grows and develops.

Ms. MacCorkle said Bao Bao began to show an interest in bamboo at about four months, a good two months before the average for cubs, although she still gets most of her nutrition from her mother’s milk.

The young panda spends much of her time outdoors perched in trees and is participating in training activities.

“They do spend a lot of time in trees,” Ms. MacCorkle said. “She’s doing what a panda cub her age is supposed to do.”

If You Go

WHAT:Bao Bao’s First Birthday

WHERE: Smithsonian National Zoo, 3001 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008

WHEN: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Animal keeper talks at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Frozen cake for Bao Bao will be delivered at 11:30 a.m.

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