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Two giant pandas are moving to a California zoo in a rare loan from China

·2 mins

China is sending two giant pandas to the San Diego Zoo. This is the first time in two decades that China has granted new panda loans to the United States. The San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance confirmed that they will be receiving the pandas, although there is no official timeline for their arrival. This announcement comes after Chinese leader Xi Jinping expressed his willingness to send pandas as “envoys of friendship” to the US, particularly to the San Diego Zoo. The pandas will deepen the friendly ties between China and the US. Previously, the National Zoo in Washington, DC returned its three pandas back to China, ending a program that had lasted for over 50 years. Zoo Atlanta is now the only other US zoo with pandas. The San Diego Zoo had returned its last two pandas to China in 2019. China’s “panda diplomacy” program loans pandas to more than 20 countries for political and diplomatic purposes. It aims to strengthen relations and gain influence. Ensuring the health and safety of the pandas is a priority in these international collaborations. Discussions are ongoing for a new round of cooperation between the National Zoo and a zoo in Austria. The hope is that pandas will return to other US zoos as well. The giant panda is an endangered species, with fewer than 2,000 remaining in the wild.