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China is Once Again Sending Pandas to the US—Delighting the San Diego and DC Zoos

in Animals 309 views

Panda Diplomacy’ is back in action in San Diego as Chinese conservationists and the California zoo signed an agreement that could see giant pandas return for the viewing public as soon as the end of summer.

When China began sending giant pandas alongside diplomatic liaisons, it didn’t just help stabilize relations with contentious neighbors and competitor nations, it contributed immensely to the understanding of these beautiful creatures.

With zookeepers all over the world studying different aspects of panda biology and ethnology, the last 40 years have seen the ability to captively breed and raise pandas improve exponentially.

At the moment, the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance (SDZWA) has already signed an agreement with the China Wildlife Conservation Association, and is filing permits with the US Fish and Wildlife Service to welcome two new giant pandas to their zoo.

The partnership this time around will include research on disease prevention and habitat protection, with a fee paid by SDZWA for the opportunity to host the pandas going directly to giant panda conservation in China.

“We are humbled by the potential opportunity of continuing our collaborative conservation efforts to secure the future for giant pandas,” said Dr. Megan Owen, Vice President of Conservation Science at SDZWA.

Panda lovers rejoiced when, at the first face-to-face meeting between presidents Biden and Xi Jinping in over a year, promises to reduce tensions arrived alongside hints that pandas may return to zoos in San Diego and Washington D.C.

In recent years, China has declined to renew loan agreements with zoos in D.C., Tennessee, and San Diego as a result of perceived antagonism by Washington, and the only place in the US where giant pandas could be seen was Atlanta.

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