National Zoo To Be Without Giant Pandas For First Time In 23 Years, Returning To China

  • Giant pandas that have resided at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, D.C., are returning to China after roughly 23 years.
  • Mei Xiang and Tian Tian have resided at the zoo since 2000 and were initially meant to stay for only ten years, according to The Hill. However, a series of renewals have prolonged their stay.
  • Upon the Dec. 7 expiration of the latest agreement, the pair, along with cub Xiao Qi Ji, will go to China. The two elder pandas arrived stateside as part of a breeding program, which resulted in the birth of three other cubs that have since gone to Asia.
  • To send off the pandas, the zoo plans to hold “Panda Palooza” from Sept. 23 to Oct. 1.
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