China plans to send pandas to the US

China is planning to send a new pair of giant pandas to the San Diego Zoo, repeating its friendly gesture to the United States after almost all the bears on loan from US zoos were returned to China when relations began to deteriorate between the two nations.

San Diego Zoo officials told The Associated Press that if all permits and conditions are approved, the two pandas, a male and a female, are expected to arrive in late summer, about five years after the zoo sent its last pandas to China. .

Ron Swaisgood, director of Recovery Ecology at the San Diego Zoo, is happy about the arrival of the pandas at the zoo.

“I am very excited to announce that we will be welcoming giant pandas to the San Diego Zoo's Wildlife Alliance in the not too distant future. Unfortunately, we do not have a specific date. We are still working on this with our cooperation partners in China."

In November, Chinese President Xi Jinping raised hopes that his country would start sending pandas to the US again after he and US President Joe Biden attended a bilateral meeting in Northern California and pledged to try to ease tensions.

China is considering a pair that includes a female offspring of Bai Yun and Gao Gao, two former zoo residents, said Megan Owen of the San Diego Zoo's Wildlife Alliance and vice president of Animal Conservation Science at Wild.

Panda Bai Yun, who was born in captivity in China, lived in the zoo for more than 20 years and gave birth to six cubs there.

She and her cub were the zoo's last pandas when they returned to China in 2019.

The other panda, Gao Gao, was born in the wild in China and lived at the San Diego Zoo from 2003 to 2018, before being returned.

Black and white bears have long been a symbol of US-China friendship since Beijing donated pandas to the National Zoo in Washington DC in 1972, before the normalization of bilateral relations.