Giant Pandas’ Arrival in the U.S.: Details Revealed

Giant pandas - Washington, DC

Four giant pandas will be coming to two U.S. zoos later this year, an announcement that comes after three beloved bears in the nation’s capital were to China last November.

The Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute announced Wednesday that two giant pandas will be coming to the zoo by the end of 2024. And in April, the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance announced that it will also be getting two giant pandas this summer.

Here’s what we know about the pandas that are coming to the U.S.

Who are the pandas coming to D.C.?

The National Zoo will be welcoming two new pandas, named Bao Li and Qing Bao, as part of its conservation partnership with the China Wildlife Conservation Association. The zoo announced the news in a video posted on X with the U.S. First Lady Jill Biden and zoo officials.

“For more than 50 years, the zoo’s pandas have brought joy to everyone who has seen them and are one of our biggest conservation success stories,” Brandie Smith, John and Adrienne Mars Director of the National Zoo, said in the video.

“It’s especially meaningful to have them at the National Zoo, where people can visit the pandas in person for free or watch them on the panda cam with millions of people across the globe,” Smithsonian Institution Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch III said in the video.

Bao Li is a male panda, born on Aug. 4, 2021. In Mandarin, “Bao” means “precious” and “treasure,” and “Li” refers to vitality and strength. His name means an active and vital power, according to the .

Qing Bao is a female panda, born on Sept. 12, 2021. In Mandarin, her name means “green” and “treasure,” the zoo said on its website.

“We can’t wait to celebrate this historic moment here in our nation’s capital,” the First Lady said in the video. “It’s official! The pandas are coming back to D.C.!”

Who are the pandas coming to San Diego?

The San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance announced on April 29 that its conservation and care team leaders had recently visited China for a meeting with conservation partners from the China Wildlife Conservation Association. While there, they met the two bears, named Yun Chuan and Xin Bao.

Yun Chuan is nearly five years old, and is a male panda. Officials said in a that he is “mild-mannered, gentle and lovable.” His mother, Zhen Zhen, was born at the San Diego Zoo in 2007. Zhen Zhen was returned to China in 2010, according to . Yun Chuan is named partly after his grandmother, Bai Yun, who lived at the San Diego Zoo for 23 years. Bai Yun was returned to China in 2019, according to . The second character of his name, “Chuan,” is a reference to his home province of Sichuan, China.

Xin Bao is a female panda who is almost four years old. She was born in Wolong Shenshuping Panda Base in Sichuan. Officials said she is “a gentle and witty introvert with a sweet round face and big ears.” Her name means “a new treasure of prosperity and abundance,” according to the zoo’s press release.

“It was an honor to see Yun Chuan and Xin Bao in person and meet our conservation partners caring for them at the Wolong and Bifengxia Panda Bases,” Dr. Megan Owen, vice president of conservation science at the San Diego Zoo, said in the press release. “Yun Chuan’s lineage has deep connections to the San Diego Zoo and we’re excited by the prospect of caring for them.”