US National Zoo Celebrates ‘Pandaversary’
US National Zoo Celebrates ‘Pandaversary’

US National Zoo Celebrates ‘Pandaversary’

Meixiang and Xiao Qi Ji enjoy their special treat for “Pandaversary”, a frozen fruitcake, at the National Zoo in Washington on April 16, 2022. YIFAN XU / CHINA DAILY

People gathered at the US National Zoo in the country’s capital on Saturday to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the arrival of the first pandas to the United States from China.

The weekend was a full program of festivities and “Pandaversary,” the main event in a six-month series of events organized by the zoo, officially known as the Smithsonians National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute.

Ling Ling and Hsing Hsing arrived at the National Zoo on April 16, 50 years ago. Now Meixiang, Tian Tian and their youngest cub, Xiao Qi Ji, are in the zoo. Their other cubs, Tai Shan, Bao Bao and Bei Bei, were returned to China.

Chinese Ambassador Qin Gang and Brandie Smith, director of the National Zoo, made remarks Saturday morning, launching “Pandaversary.”

Qin said the arrival of the pandas was one of the most important results of President Richard Nixon’s historic visit to China in 1972. The fifty-year cooperation on panda conservation between the United States and China “reached much,” and the panda is no longer an endangered species, he said. Qin thanked the zoo for making Washington a wonderful home for pandas.

“Pandas are the symbol of friendships. And the successful story of panda conservation is a very good example of China and the United States, where we could work together to work together, not only in panda conservation, but we can achieve more in other areas for the benefit of our two peoples and the peoples of the world, “he said.

“So I want pandas to live a happy life forever in DC, and we look forward to more cooperation,” Qin added.

Smith said China and the United States have maintained good communication in their giant panda conservation efforts over the years and worked together to save the endangered species. She noted that giant pandas are the best proof that the two countries can work closely together and they are the messengers of friendship that unite the two peoples.

Smith also expressed his anticipation for the future of the US-China cooperation program on pandas.

“The panda is not endangered, but there are still not enough pandas on the planet. We still need more pandas; we still need to look at continuing to save the habitat. And as for our program, that’s what we want. to do, to continue working with our colleagues in China to work on understanding pandas in the wild and on conserving their habitat, but also working on our plan is to understand more about them as a species, “Smith told China Daily.

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