China Plans to Send Two Pandas to San Diego Zoo and Considers Potential Arrangement for Washington D.C. Zoo

Credits: People

China plans to send a new pair of giant pandas to the San Diego Zoo, marking a renewal of the longstanding gesture of friendship towards the United States. The move follows the recall of nearly all pandas previously on loan to U.S. zoos as relations between the two nations soured.

The China Wildlife Conservation Association has signed cooperation agreements with zoos in San Diego and Madrid, with discussions ongoing for potential collaborations with zoos in Washington, D.C., and Vienna.

If all permits and requirements are approved, two giant pandas, a male and a female, are expected to arrive at the San Diego Zoo as early as the end of summer. The gesture is seen as a positive development in U.S.-China relations, following Chinese President Xi Jinping’s commitment in November to resume sending pandas to the U.S.

Panda (Credits: Toronto Star)

The new collaboration also involves efforts in panda conservation, with the zoos typically paying a fee of $1 million a year for two pandas, contributing to China’s conservation initiatives. The decision to send giant pandas is considered a symbol of friendship and cooperation between the two nations.

Decades of conservation efforts and captive breeding have contributed to the recovery of the giant panda species, increasing its population from fewer than 1,000 to over 1,800 in the wild and captivity combined.

The black-and-white bears have long been a symbol of U.S.-China friendship since China gifted a pair to the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., in 1972.

The collaboration between China and international zoos will also involve research on disease prevention, habitat protection, and contributing to China’s national panda park construction.

The return of giant pandas is seen as an opportunity to further expand research outcomes and promote mutual understanding and friendship among people through international cooperation.

The move comes after concerns over the return of giant pandas to China from U.S. zoos last year, amid allegations of mistreatment and fears that China was gradually withdrawing pandas from Western nations due to diplomatic tensions. The revival of panda diplomacy is seen as a positive step forward in cultural and conservation collaboration between the two countries.

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