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DC Zoo to receive giant pandas from China

  • May 30, 2024
  • 2 min read
DC Zoo to receive giant pandas from China

A pair of giant pandas from China will be the latest residents of the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington DC, the zoo announced. Two-year-old male panda Bao Li and two-year-old female panda Qing Bao are due to arrive in the American capital city later in the year.

The news of their arrival was announced via a video that featured First Lady Jill Biden who hailed it as a “historic moment.” This marks the latest chapter in China’s history of ‘panda diplomacy’ with the US, coming in spite of tensions between the two nations. It also follows the return of a family of three pandas who were sent back to China from the National Zoo six months ago.

In the announcement, the zoo said that one of the animals, Bao Li, is a descendant of the family that returned to China.

“This historic moment is proof positive that our collaboration with Chinese colleagues has made an irrefutable impact,” said zoo director Brandie Smith.

The arrival of the two bears is thanks to a new agreement signed with the China Wildlife Conservation Association (CWSA), the zoo revealed. It involved the transfer of two giant pandas recommended for breeding to be under the care of the National Zoo for around a decade. It wil pay the CWSA an annual fee of around $1 million (£790,000) to support its research and conservation.

Both animals as well as any offspring are still the property of China. Any cubs born must be returned to China by their fourth birthday.

China has a long history of ‘panda diplomacy’ where the country maintains ownership of all pandas worldwide and only sends them to countries with which it has a good relationship. It has recalled when relations soured.

There are only three left in the world not owned by China, including one in Mexico.

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