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San Diego Zoo Welcomes Pandas from China

-Editorial

In a demonstration of friendship and collaboration between China and San Diego, two giant pandas have arrived on American soil and will soon be introduced to the public at the San Diego Zoo for the public to see very soon.

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria shared his excitement about the arrival of the pandas.

“We are thrilled to welcome Yun Chuan and Xin Bao to the San Diego Zoo. Their arrival has been months in the making, involving numerous meetings with Chinese conservation officials and the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. The culmination of this work was my recent trip to China, where I participated in the farewell ceremonies for the pandas before their journey here. This partnership underscores our commitment to conservation and environmental stewardship. The San Diego Zoo has long been a leader in wildlife conservation, and hosting these pandas will enhance our efforts to protect endangered species and educate the public about the importance of preserving our natural world.”

A delegation of representatives from the United States, including leaders of the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, joined dignitaries and conservation leaders in China at the China Conservation & Research Center for Giant Pandas in Sichuan province for a farewell ceremony honoring the two giant pandas coming to the San Diego Zoo.

The historic ceremony commemorating the departure of pandas Yun Chuan and Xin Bao was attended by San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance President and CEO Paul Baribault, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria, and U.S. and Chinese dignitaries. It included cultural performances, video salutations from Chinese and American students, and a gift exchange among conservation partners.

The panda pair Yun Chuan and Xin Bao, the first to enter the United States in 21 years, traveled to the San Diego Zoo soon after the farewell ceremony. After the pandas have safely arrived in San Diego, they will not be viewable to the public for several weeks while they acclimate to their new home. As soon as wildlife health and care teams confirm Yun Chuan and Xin Bao are ready to meet the public, the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance will share a debut date and specific information about how to see the beloved pandas.

“We are incredibly excited to welcome Yun Chuan and Xin Bao to the San Diego Zoo,” said Baribault. “This farewell celebrates their journey and underscores a collaboration between the United States and China on vital conservation efforts. Our long-standing partnership with China Wildlife Conservation Association has been instrumental in advancing giant panda conservation, and we look forward to continuing our work together to ensure the survival and thriving of this iconic species.”

The multinational ceremony reflects the deep connections pandas have to San Diego Zoo, which was the first Zoo in the United States to have a cooperative panda conservation program. Yun Chuan, a nearly five-year-old male, is the son of Zhen Zhen, who was born at San Diego Zoo in 2007.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the conservation partnership between the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance and China Wildlife Conservation Association. The collaboration has greatly advanced giant panda conservation, leading to the downgrading of the giant panda’s status from Endangered to Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 2016. The efforts include developing a giant panda milk formula and, with our partners, other neonatal conservation techniques that dramatically increased survival rates for nursery-reared cubs from less than 10% to over 90%, as well as advanced reproductive techniques and the contribution of valuable expertise to efforts led by Chinese scientists to track wild giant pandas at the Foping National Nature Reserve using GPS technology. The ongoing collaboration aims to further enhance the health and resilience of giant panda populations, especially the most vulnerable and isolated groups.

Although the conservation status of the giant panda is improving, there is still much work needed to ensure they remain on the path to recovery with healthy and flourishing populations. The conservation collaboration between San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance and China Wildlife Conservation Association aims to improve giant panda population health and resilience in some of the smallest and most isolated populations vulnerable to extinction and loss of genetic diversity.

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