San Diego Zoo Welcomes First New Pandas in the U.S. in 21 Years

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Written By Kanisha Laing

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Two giant pandas from China have arrived in Southern California to be part of a conservation partnership, according to the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. The pandas, Yun Chuan and Xin Bao, will spend several weeks getting used to their new home in a private area at the San Diego Zoo and won’t be seen by the public yet.

These are the first new pandas in the U.S. in 21 years. In May, the Washington National Zoo announced it would also get two new pandas from China by the end of the year.

Experts will monitor the pandas and decide when they are ready to be seen by the public. A farewell ceremony was held in China before they left.

Yun Chuan, a nearly 5-year-old male, has ties to California; his mother, Zhen Zhen, was born at the San Diego Zoo. Xin Bao is a nearly 4-year-old female known for her gentle and witty personality.

The San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance has been working with conservation groups in China for nearly 30 years to protect giant pandas and their bamboo forests. Since 1972, China has been lending pandas to the U.S. under an agreement called “panda diplomacy.” San Diego first received pandas in 1987 for a 100-day visit, then signed a longer agreement in 1996. Six pandas were born at the zoo, and all returned to China by 2019.

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