San Francisco Zoo to receive pair of pandas from China

San Francisco Zoo to receive pair of pandas from ChinaSan Francisco Zoo to receive pair of pandas from China
via @LondonBreed
San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced that the San Francisco Zoo will be receiving a pair of pandas as part of China’s historic panda diplomacy.
Key points:
  • Breed announced the panda loan during her weeklong visit to Beijing
  • The pair of giant pandas, which she anticipates will arrive in San Francisco at the beginning of next year, will mark the city’s first time hosting the beloved animals long-term.
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The details:
  • On Thursday, Breed and the China Wildlife Conservation Association signed a memorandum of understanding for international cooperation on giant panda conservation. 
  • “San Francisco is absolutely thrilled that we will be welcoming Giant Pandas to our San Francisco Zoo,” Breed said in a press release. “We have been working closely with our local API community to advocate for pandas nearly a year ago leading up to APEC in November, and it’s an honor that our City has been chosen for the first time to be a long-term home for Giant Pandas.” 
  • Planning for a panda enclosure at the zoo has reportedly begun as engineers from the Beijing Zoo recently met with zoo engineers in San Francisco to discuss the project.
  • Breed’s trip to China aimed to boost San Francisco’s economy and tourism industry, with Breed meeting with Chinese businesses to advocate for direct flights and attract international investment. 
  • Despite challenges faced by the city, including high office vacancy rates and sluggish foot traffic, Breed remains optimistic about the potential benefits of the panda agreement, which is expected to draw visitors to the zoo and the city.
About China’s “panda diplomacy”:
  • China loans pandas to more than 20 countries through its panda diplomacy program.
  • Pandas first arrived in the U.S. in 1972, a few months after President Richard Nixon’s visit to China. The panda loan program has since been used for diplomatic and scientific exchange over the years. 
  • China recognizes the bear species as significant for political and diplomatic purposes, particularly in locations where it aims to enhance influence or foster closer relations.
  • In February, China announced its first panda loan to the U.S. in two decades. The East Asian nation will be sending two giant pandas to the San Diego Zoo this year. The announcement came after Chinese leader Xi Jinping met with President Joe Biden for the 30th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) global trade summit in San Francisco in November last year.
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