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Happy birthday, Mei Lun and Mei Huan! One year ago today, pandemonium began when Zoo Atlanta's giant panda Lun Lun gave birth to a set of tiny pink cubs, the first giant panda twins born in the U.S. since 1987. Through the zoo's blog, eager Atlantans (and the rest of the world) watched the twins transform from four-ounce newborns to the 60-pound adorable balls of fluff they are today, along the way hitting classic milestones such as opening their eyes for the first time and getting their baby teeth. Today, the zoo celebrates the girls’ birthday with a set of ice cakes, but let’s first go back in time and look at how far these cuties have come.
There were opportunities to ride in a NASCAR pace car, getaway to wine country and dine in style at master chef Franck Steigerwald’s private table Saturday night at the American Cancer Society’s Birthdays Ball at the Ritz-Carlton Buckhead. But dollar for dollar, nothing beat the rare opportunity to paint with the African elephants at Zoo Atlanta during the evening’s spirited live auction. The private painting session for you and five of your closest animal and art aficionados ended up pulling in $5,000 for the charity, retaining 100 percent of the experience’s estimated value (given that the pricey pachyderms each eat about 300 pounds of food a day, the five grand should just about cover the painting session’s catering bill). The black tie fundraiser, presented by Delta, Georgia Power and Radiotherapy Clinics of Georgia was an evening dedicated to raising money and to raising awareness about the iconic cancer nonprofit celebrating its centennial birthday in 2013.
You see that little guy to the right? That's Xi Lan, the newest addition to Zoo Atlanta's panda family who was born in August of last year. Doesn't Xi Lan look sad? It's because he's just been informed that unless Zoo Atlanta meets its fundraising goal of $500,000, he, his big sister, Mei Lan, and their parents, Lun Lun and Yang Yang, are going to be saying zai jian (goodbye) to the Peach State. As I wrote in last year's pa