The Student News Site of Coral Glades High School

The Prowl

The Student News Site of Coral Glades High School

The Prowl

The Student News Site of Coral Glades High School

The Prowl

American Pandas Returning Back to China


The trio of giant pandas at the ​Smithsonian National Zoo, ​Mei Xiang and ​Tian Tian, are returning to ​China after spending over two decades in the ​United States. The pandas, now 25 and 26 years old, arrived in the U.S. in 2000 and have been beloved attractions at the Washington Zoo ever since. The decision for the pandas to return to China is part of the agreement that brought them to the U.S., which stipulated their eventual return.

 Cara Eccleston, Grade 11, said, “To be honest, I didn’t know that China gave us pandas in the first place, so I wasn’t surprised when I heard the news about them being taken away. But it is still sad that they are taking them away from us.”

Their exit comes due to diplomatic relations between the U.S. and China, with only a handful of giant pandas remaining in North America. The Chinese government often uses panda loans to zoos abroad as a form of soft power projection, preferring nations with whom their relations are improving. However, with the current geopolitical rift between East and West, the expiration of panda contracts with U.S. zoos is not surprising, according to Kurt Tong, a managing partner of the Asia Group consultancy. 

Priscilla Rodriguez, Grade 12, said, “I’m really upset that China is taking our pandas as they gave them to us they can’t just take them, that’s not how it works, So I hope the US comes up with something, so we can keep them.”

The Smithsonian National Zoo has invested millions of dollars over the years to support the breeding and conservation efforts for the pandas, as well as paying an annual fee of $500,000 to their Chinese conservation counterpart as part of their agreement. 

The departure of the pandas has drawn attention and marked the end of an era for the Washington Zoo. In September, the zoo held a weeklong event called “Panda Palooza” to bid farewell to the bears, and thousands of visitors came to say their goodbyes. Zoo Atlanta in Georgia also plans to return its pandas in 2024, leaving only Xin Xin in Mexico City as the sole panda remaining on the continent.

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Valeria Gando, Writer
  • Name: Valeria Gando
  • Grade:12
  • School Club/Sports involvement: Girl up and Lacrosse
  • Fun Fact: I really like to draw

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