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Who are the pandas the San Diego Zoo is getting from China?

Two very cute giant pandas are coming from China to the U.S. to be the zoo's new stars and continue "panda diplomacy."
San Diego Zoo giant panda Yun Chuan
Posted at 2:05 PM, Apr 29, 2024

There's exciting news from the San Diego Zoo!

Officials announced Monday that a delightful duo of giant pandas — Yun Chuan, an almost 5-year-old male, and Xin Bao, a nearly 4-year-old female — are on their way to the U.S. from China to become the zoo's newest star attractions.

The San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance has teamed up with conservationists in China for almost three decades. Yun Chuan, the son of Zhen Zhen, born at the San Diego Zoo in 2007, is proof of this fluffy collaboration. Meanwhile, Xin Bao was born at the Wolong Shenshuping Panda Base.

The zoo says that Yun Chuan is "gentle and lovable" and Xin Bao is a "witty introvert with a sweet round face and big ears."

“Our conservation partners in China shared photographs and personality traits of Yun Chuan and Xin Bao, but meeting them in person was so special. It’s inspiring as people from around the world come together to conserve, protect, and care for these special bears, and we can’t wait to welcome them to San Diego,” said Dr. Megan Owen, vice president of conservation science at San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance.

Since 1972, the pandas have been part of the "panda diplomacy” in which U.S. zoos, including San Diego Zoo, borrow pandas from China. But in 2019, San Diego Zoo had to return its last two pandas as their contract was up. Early this year, however, the zoo announced that it had reached a cooperative agreement with the China Wildlife Conservation Association, paving the way for the pandas' return.

"The conservation collaboration between San Diego Zoo Wildlife Association and China Wildlife Conservation Association aims to improve giant panda population health and resilience in some of the smallest and most isolated populations vulnerable to extinction and loss of genetic diversity," the zoo stated.

The exact date for the transfer has not been announced yet.

File photo of a panda sleeping in a tree.

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