Zoos With Pandas in the U.S.

Want to see a giant panda but don’t where to do so? Unfortunately, there are only a couple of zoos in the United States that have pandas so that won’t be easy but it is possible.

Giant pandas are native to China and, as a result, all pandas in U.S. zoos are on loan from China and face many restrictions by the Chinese government.

There actually used to be more American zoos that had pandas, such as the Memphis Zoo in Tennessee, but those pandas were returned to China.

Now there are only two zoos that house pandas and one of them is under agreement to return their pandas to China at the end of 2023.

The following is a list of U.S. zoos with giant pandas:

National Zoo:

Address: 3001 Connecticut Ave, Washington D.C.

Website: nationalzoo.si.edu

Established in 1889, the National Zoo is a 163-acre zoo in Washington D.C. that is currently home to two adult giant pandas named Mei Xiang and Tian Tian who are returning to China at the end of 2023.

The zoo received its first pandas on April 16, 1972 when it became home to two giant pandas named Hsing-Hsing and Ling-Ling who were given as gifts to the United States by the Chinese government after President Nixon’s visit to China that year.

During their time at the zoo, the two pandas have had five cubs between 1983 and 1989, but none of them survived past a few days.

Ling-Ling eventually died of heart failure in 1992 and Hsing-Hsing was euthanized in 1999 due to kidney failure.

In December of 2000, the zoo received its current pandas, Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, as part of a 10-year-long research, conservation and breeding program.

Mei Xiang and Tian Tian later had seven cubs which were all sent to China after they turned four years old, as part of the program’s agreement, except for their youngest cub who was born in 2020.

On January 20, 2011, a new agreement was signed that extended the program until 2015 when another a agreement was signed that extended it until 2020.

In December 2020, the National Zoo announced that the pandas would continue to live at the facility through the end of 2023.

That three-year agreement extension signed by Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute and China Wildlife and Conservation Association is effective through December 7, 2023.

The National Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and is one of only 10 free zoos in the U.S.

Zoo Atlanta:

Address: 800 Cherokee Ave SE, Atlanta, GA

Website: zooatlanta.org

Established in 1889, Zoo Atlanta is a 40-acre zoo in Georgia that is currently home to two adult giant pandas named Lun Lun and Yang Yang and two of their offspring.

Lun Lun and Yang Yang are on loan from China and first arrived at the zoo in 1999. Since then the two pandas have had seven cubs between 2006 and 2016, including two sets of twins born in 2013 and 2016.

All of the panda’s older cubs have returned to China and the two younger cubs will return too in 2024.

If you can’t make it to the zoo to see the pandas in person, the zoo has a panda cam where you can watch the pandas in their enclosure.

Zoo Atlanta is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Zoos Pandas USA

AZA Accredited and Certified Members.” Association of Zoos and Aquariums, aza.org/inst-status?locale=en
1999 – 2017: Pandas To Present.” Zoo Atlanta, zooatlanta.org/about/our-story/history/pandas-to-present/
Leathers, Lauren. “All 4 Of Zoo Atlanta’s Giant Pandas Celebrate Birthdays.” GPB, gpb.org/news/2019/08/27/all-4-of-zoo-atlantas-giant-pandas-celebrate-birthdays
The History of Giant Pandas at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute.” Smithsonian’s National Zoo, nationalzoo.si.edu/animals/history-giant-pandas-zoo#:~:text=Eager%20for%20better%20relations%20with,to%20the%20Smithsonian%27s%20National%20Zoo
Giant Panda Facts.” Smithsonian’s National Zoo, nationalzoo.si.edu/animals/giant-panda-faqs
Panda Politics: Why are US zoos sending back the bears to China?” First Post, 12 April. 2023, firstpost.com/explainers/us-zoos-sending-back-giant-pandas-china-loan-bear-diplomacy-12444972.html
Wetzel, Corryn. “China reclaims pandas from US zoos – is the panda politics era over?” New Scientist, newscientist.com/article/2364886-china-reclaims-pandas-from-us-zoos-is-the-panda-politics-era-over/

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