China might quickly be sending big pandas to the U.S. for the primary time in years, reigniting “panda diplomacy” between the 2 nations.

The China Wildlife Conservation Assn. has secured agreements with the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance and the Madrid Zoo Aquarium of Spain concerning the conservation of big pandas, in line with Xinhua, China’s information company.

Megan Owen, vp of wildlife conservation science on the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, confirmed the settlement between the Chinese language company and the zoo in a information launch.

“We’re humbled by the potential alternative of continuous our collaborative conservation efforts to safe the longer term for large pandas,” Owen stated.

Owen instructed the Related Press that the 2 pandas, one feminine and one male, might arrive by the top of the summer season. One of many feminine pandas being thought-about descended from Bai Yun and Gao Gao, which used to stay on the San Diego Zoo. The zoo hasn’t hosted big pandas since 2019.

China can also be negotiating with the Nationwide Zoo in Washington, D.C., to “develop a future big panda program,” in line with Brandie Smith, the director of the Smithsonian’s Nationwide Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute.

“It’s at all times been our intention and hope to have big pandas on the Zoo sooner or later and proceed our analysis right here and conservation work in China,” Smith stated in an announcement.

China has been lending pandas to the U.S. for greater than 5 a long time as an indication of goodwill between the nations, however doubts about the way forward for the loans grew after a number of pandas have been returned to China prior to now few years.

The San Diego Zoo returned its last giant pandas, Bai Yun, and her son, Xiao Liwu, to China in 2019, and the Memphis Zoo despatched again its feminine panda in April.

Final November, the Smithsonian’s Nationwide Zoo despatched again two grownup pandas, Tian Tian and Mei Xiang, and their cub, Xiao Qi Ji, in line with a information launch.

Chinese President Xi Jinping hinted late final yr that China might ship new pandas to the U.S., calling them “envoys of friendship between the Chinese language and American peoples.”

“We’re able to proceed our cooperation with the USA on panda conservation, and do our greatest to satisfy the needs of the Californians in order to deepen the pleasant ties between our two peoples,” Xi stated on the time.

Beijing first lent two pandas to the Smithsonian’s Nationwide Zoo in Washington in 1972. Beijing began lending out pandas to different U.S. zoos, with the proceeds going to conservation applications.

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