US Giant Panda Deal With China Expires

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

( – On Friday, Zoo Atlanta put out a press release that confirmed that its giant pandas would be sent back to China following an agreement with China expiring. As they noted they would send Xi Lun, Ya Lun, Yang Yang, and Lun Lun back to China later in 2024. 

The zoo noted that they have already applied for international travel permits for the pandas and that the bears would be traveling within the fourth quarter of the year. It added that currently there is no information that is more specific regarding the time that the pandas are going to be traveling and argued that timing was going to collaboratively be identified with Chinese official partners.

Zoo officials have pointed out that the pandas are on loan from China, and that to transport them there are months of planning required. These are the last remaining pandas in the United States, as all zoos across the country have been required to return their pandas to China in the past few months. 

However, Mayor London Breen from San Francisco announced that next year the San Francisco Zoo is expected to welcome a pair of Giant Pandas. 

China Wildlife Conservation Association (CWCA) Secretary-General Wu Minglu announced that they were actively collaborating with officials in order to ensure the safe arrival of the pandas in 2025. In a meeting last November with Chinese President Xi Jinping it was noted that the bears are “envoys of friendship.” The exchange of pandas with China first started in 1972 under then-President Nixon. The first pandas had been sent to the United States for research purposes. 

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