DC Zoo receives new pair of giant pandas from China

A pair of giant pandas from China will soon be brought to the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington DC, the zoo recently announced.

Two-year-old male panda Bao Li and two-year-old female panda Qing Bao will arrive in the US capital later this year.

News of their upcoming appearance was announced by a video Wednesday featuring First Lady Jill Biden, who called it a “historic moment.”

The move marks the latest chapter in China’s long history of panda diplomacy with the US and comes despite tense relations between the two countries.

It also comes six months after a family of three pandas was brought back to China from the National Zoo.

In its announcement, the zoo said one of the upcoming bears – Bao Li – is a descendant of that family.

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

The zoo said the arrival of the bears is the result of a new agreement signed with the China Wildlife Conservation Association (CWSA).

It involved transferring two giant pandas proposed for breeding into the National Zoo’s care for a decade.

Meanwhile, the National Zoo will pay an annual fee of $1 million (£790,000) to CWSA to support its research and conservation efforts.

Both pandas and their offspring will remain under Chinese ownership, and any panda cubs born will be returned to China before the age of four.

The National Zoo said it will make another announcement when the panda is ready for public viewing.

They will come to the city later this year.

Pandas have been housed at the Washington DC Zoo for more than five decades and are a draw for millions of visitors and fans from around the world, who watch the bears online on panda cam of the zoo.

The animals have long symbolized warm relations with China, which first gifted the United States with a pair of giant pandas after Richard Nixon’s historic 1972 trip to Beijing.

In 2023, China recalled four pandas from the US – including three kept at the National Zoo – and two more from Edinburgh Zoo, as relations between Beijing and the West grew become fractured.

In addition to the pair of pandas sent to the National Zoo, the San Diego Zoo announced earlier this year that it would also receive a pair of pandas.

Experts say China’s new panda diplomacy could be a sign that Beijing is using “soft power” as the two countries try to rebuild their relationship despite differences in political terms. economic and political issues.


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