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Return of the Pandas: National Zoo in D.C. getting two bears from China by year's end

National Zoo Pandas
Posted at 10:52 AM, May 29, 2024

WASHINGTON — It was a sad time last November when the Smithsonian’s National Zoo said goodbye to giant pandas Tian Tian, Mei Xiang and Xiao Qi Ji.

The three bears left for China as part of a continued research and breeding agreement with the country.

Since then, the zoo's popular panda exhibit has been offline.

MORE: National Zoo bids farewell to beloved pandas as they leave for China

On Wednesday the zoo announced China would be loaning two more pandas to D.C. by year's end.

Bao Li and Qing Bao are a two-year-old male and female.

As part of the agreement, China will maintain ownership of both pandas for the decade they will spend at the National Zoo.

Both are expected to mate and have cubs, that will be transported to China by age four.

The National Zoo will also pay China $1 million annually towards panda conservation and research.

Each panda will arrive via FedEx, just as those who came before them did.

In the meantime the zoo, which offers free admission, is looking for $25 million in donations for exhibit renovations and operational costs.