Giant pandas arrive at San Diego Zoo


SAN DIEGO — The newest residents of the San Diego Zoo have arrived but they’re not quite ready for visitors.

The zoo announced that Yun Chuan and Xin Bao “have arrived safely” at the zoo, but “will spend the next several weeks acclimating to their new home and won’t be viewable to the public during this time.”

A date for the giant pandas’ official debut has not been set.

Yun Chuan is almost 5 years old. His mother, Zhen Zhen, was the fourth cub born at the San Diego Zoo.


Xin Bao, whose name means “precious treasure of prosperity and abundance,” is almost 4 years old.

They are on loan from the Giant Panda Conservation and Research Center at Chengu.

You can tell them apart by some of their unique features, zoo officials said.

Yun Chaun has a “long, slightly pointed nose” while Xin Bao has a “large round face and big, fluffy ears.”

The pandas’ return to the zoo marks the restart of “panda diplomacy” between the U.S. and China, Forbes reported.

San Diego isn’t the only zoo that is expecting new residents. The San Francisco Zoo is also slated to get a panda pair next year, KGO reported.

Giant pandas also will return to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington D.C. by the end of the year after the zoo’s last pair returned to China in November.

The China Wildlife Conservation Association will loan a pair of pandas — Bao Li and Qing Bao — to the zoo as part of a decade-long breeding and research agreement, WRC reported.

Panda diplomacy started in 1972 when President Richard Nixon worked with the Chinese government during the Cold War to bring pandas to the U.S. The U.S. sent two musk oxen to China in exchange. For decades, pandas lived in the U.S. on loan from China at the cost of up to $500,000 a year per animal, The Washington Post reported.

Last year, China wanted the ones that still lived in D.C., as well as the panda that lived in Memphis, Tennessee, returned.

The only zoo in the U.S. that still had pandas until now was Zoo Atlanta, and its loan agreement expires this year, Forbes reported.

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