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What we've learned from 50 years of panda conservation at the National Zoo

Baby panda Xiao Qi Ji (L) celebrates his first birthday with his mother Mei Xiang at the National Zoo in Washington, DC.
Baby panda Xiao Qi Ji (L) celebrates his first birthday with his mother Mei Xiang at the National Zoo in Washington, DC.

For 50 years, giant pandas have captivated visitors at Smithsonian’s National Zoo in D.C.

Next year, however, the pandas may be headed back to China as part of their loan agreement, marking the end of five decades of pandas in Washington’sWoodley Park.

During this period, American zoos partnered with Chinese officials with the aim of learning more about panda breeding and moving the species off the endangered list.

What can we learn from these efforts with regard to other animals? And why did we put so much time and effort into pandas?

We’re partnering with the Smithsonian podcast Sidedoor to bring you the story of how the pandas got to D.C. and how they became a conservation success story.

Copyright 2022 WAMU 88.5

Michelle Harven