Giant panda program update
Zoo Atlanta has received questions on the giant panda program and specifically, on plans for the twins Ya Lun and Xi Lun. Per the terms of the Zoo’s loan agreement with China, as planned, Ya Lun and Xi Lun will travel to China as their older brothers and sisters have done before them. It is expected that this will occur in early 2024; however, no specific timeline has yet been established with partners at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding.
Per the loan agreement, which is for adult pair Lun Lun and Yang Yang, it has always been expected that Ya Lun and Xi Lun would travel to China when they were of age. However, due to the long-term global impact of COVID-19, they did not do so on a similar timeframe as their older siblings did. Ya Lun and Xi Lun are now subadults at more than 6 years old. Their older brothers and sisters, Mei Lan, Xi Lan, Po, and twins Mei Lun and Mei Huan, were ages 4, 5, 3, and 3, respectively when they traveled to China. This will be an exciting move for Ya Lun and Xi Lun, as they will have the opportunity to join a larger breeding population of giant pandas. As always, Zoo Atlanta will work closely with colleagues in Chengdu to ensure a smooth transition.
Ya Lun’s and Xi Lun’s parents, Lun Lun and Yang Yang, will remain at Zoo Atlanta per the terms of the loan agreement, which is set to expire in late 2024. No discussions have yet taken place with partners in China as to the status of Zoo Atlanta’s giant panda program beyond the end of the loan in 2024.
Zoo Atlanta is committed to the long-term stewardship of giant pandas and to the continuation of its valued partnership and collaboration with the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding and the Chinese Association of Zoological Gardens. This partnership, which dates to the mid-1990s, continues to be very collaborative and productive in terms of research in areas such as giant panda behavior, biology, and maternal care – all of which have enhanced the global body of knowledge about this species, improved the care of giant pandas in zoological settings, and have supported the pandas’ wild counterparts in China. Giant pandas are Zoo Atlanta’s most significant long-term investment in wildlife conservation, with more than $16 million contributed to date.
Rachel Davis, Director of Communications
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