Sat. May 18th, 2024

For all panda lovers in the US, there is sad news. The National Zoo, in Washington DC, will soon send back the three giant pandas that have been its residents for the past 50 years. The decision comes as the three-year-long agreement with China’s wildlife agency comes to an end. According to Bloomberg, the pandas are set to return to China in December this year.

With the departure of the pandas from Washington DC, the Atlanta Zoo is expected to be the only place in the US where giant pandas will remain. However, unless a new deal is struck between the two countries, even the Atlanta Zoo might see the pandas leaving next year.

Chee Meng Tan, an associate professor at the University of Nottingham in Malaysia who studies panda diplomacy, suggests that this move could be Beijing’s way of expressing discontent with the United States. “This is perhaps Beijing’s way of signalling to the West that they may not be very happy with how things are going,” he told the Washington Post. “This may be one way of telling people that you’re not treating us very well, so maybe we’ll pull out our pandas.”

The report also mentions that San Diego and Memphis had previously seen the departure of their pandas in 2019 and April 2023, respectively.

The concept of Panda Diplomacy can be traced back to 1941, but it was only after President Nixon’s visit to China in 1972 that the US received their first pandas. Two pandas were given as a gift and were housed at the National Zoo in Washington DC.

Aside from political motives, the pandas, named Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, have also provided entertainment for visitors. Recently, their 3-year-old male cub, Xiao Qi Ji, became a crowd favorite at the zoo.

Some experts suggest that the decision to send back the pandas may not be solely political. Due to conservation efforts, pandas are no longer classified as “Endangered Species.” China has been focusing on establishing national parks and sanctuaries, leading to the conclusion that they no longer need to send pandas abroad for conservation and breeding purposes.

By admin