Two Pandas Will Return to the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. Later This Year

Photo Of Two Pandas On Grass

Photo: pascalegueret/Depositphotos (Not a photo of the actual pandas.)

After sitting empty for nearly seven months, the panda enclosure at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, D.C., will soon be filled once more. As part of a new 10-year research agreement with China, two giant pandas will be arriving at the zoo by the end of 2024.

Both pandas are relatively young—only 2 years old. The male is named Bao Li, which translates to “treasure” and “energetic,” and the female is named Qing Bao, which means “green” and “treasure.” Bao Li's family has a long history of living at the Smithsonian previously, with his mother being born there in 2013 and grandparents being housed at the zoo from 2000 to 2023.

Both Bao Li and Qing Bao will be quarantined for 30 days after arriving in the United States, but once that time is up, they will move into their newly renovated enclosure at the zoo. The pair will live at the Smithsonian for 10 years before being returned to China. Additionally, if they have any cubs, their offspring will have to move to China by the time they're 4 years old.

Pandas are an extremely rare sight in the United States, as the species is native to China. Many pandas in American zoos are on loan from their country of origin as part of what is known as “panda diplomacy.” These efforts are part of a global breeding program, and this focus on conservation means that as of 2021, the panda is no longer considered an endangered species on the verge of extinction. Today, it is estimated that over 1,800 pandas live in southwestern China, and their numbers are growing.

If you find yourself in Washington, D.C., sometime during the next decade, you may want to consider swinging by the zoo to visit the young pair in their new home.

h/t: [Smithsonian Magazine]

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Sarah Currier

Sarah Currier is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met. Based in central Iowa, she is currently enrolled at Iowa State University and is working toward a BA in Journalism and Mass Communication with a minor in English. She loves all things creative, and when she’s not writing, you can find her immersed in the worlds of television, film, and literature.
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