National Zoo Panda Agreement
The National Zoo said Monday that all three of its giant pandas will go to China in late 2023, after a new deal with Chinese officials. The agreement grants a three-year extension of the stay of the adult giant pandas, Mei Xiang, a female, and Tian Tian, a male who has been at the zoo for 20 years, the zoo said. Xiao Qi Ji is the fourth surviving boy of the panda pair. His three older descendants now live in China. “With the birth of Xiao Qi Ji on August 21, Mei Xiang became the oldest giant panda born in North America,” the zoo said. The agreement means that the zoo and the adoring public will have the popular black and white animals for another three years. “We have 48 years of history with pandas and we would like to have many more decades of collaboration with Chinese colleagues,” he said. 1972: Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing (Shing-Shing), the first pair of giant pandas from the Smithsonian`s National Zoo, came from China in April as a gift to commemorate President Nixon`s historic visit to China. Mei Xiang gave birth to four surviving boys, all designed by Tian Tian: Tai Shan (tie-SHON), Bao Bao (BOW BOW), Bei (BAY BAY) and Xiao Qi Ji.
Born on July 9, 2005, Tai Shan moved to China in February 2010. Bao Bao was born on August 23, 2013 and moved to China in February 2017. Bei was born on August 22, 2015 and moved to China in November 2019. With the birth of Xiao Qi Ji on August 21, Mei Xiang became the oldest giant panda born in North America. 2000: The second pair of giant pandas from the National Zoo, Mei Xiang (May-Shong) and Tian Tian (tee-YEN tee-YEN-YEN-YEN) arrived on December 6 in Washington, D.C. An agreement with the Chinese government provided that the couple would live for ten years at the Smithsonian National Zoo in exchange for $10 million. The funds were raised from private donors, including the main sponsor Fujifilm and the exclusive media partner Animal Planet. The zoo`s director, Steve Monfort, said he was confident, despite international tensions, that Chinese officials would consider sending more giant pandas to Washington in the future. The Smithsonian`s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute is an important player in the protection of the giant panda. Since these charismatic bears arrived at the zoo in 1972, animal keepers and scientists have studied pandabiology, behaviour, breeding, breeding and disease.