The Official Student Newspaper of Tarleton State University since 1919

the JTAC

The Official Student Newspaper of Tarleton State University since 1919

the JTAC

The Official Student Newspaper of Tarleton State University since 1919

the JTAC

Pandas leaving America

China’s panda loaning policy comes to an end

Many of us have seen those cute videos of giant pandas on social media. Often, we can see them rolling around and lovingly playing with other pandas. Giant pandas are adorable fuzzy companions along with the polar and grizzly bears. You can see them in the zoo’s where there is an abundance of exotic and endangered species to learn about and marvel at.

These black and white creatures feed mainly on bamboo and they can consume anywhere from 20 to 80 pounds per day. Sadly, due to modern urbanization and construction in the 1990s, China’s expansion has slowly destroyed their natural habitats. The construction of roads, dams, and railways have slowly fragmented and isolated their habitats. What used to be abundant big areas of bamboo forests have slowly been dominated and destroyed by urbanization.

The destruction and isolation of their habitats can prevent these pandas from finding new sources of food from the dwindling bamboo forests, as well as prevent them from finding potential mates. 

The pandas are a national symbol of China, often associated with peace and friendship, as well as representing the cultural beliefs of China with the Yin and Yang. Therefore, the Chinese government increased its efforts to protect and socialize pandas. They have also partnered with the World Wildlife Fund to help develop and restore their natural habitats. 

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China has a long history of gifting pandas to other countries as a sign of peace and diplomacy. From the 1940s to the late 1980s, China has gifted a total of 23 giant pandas to nine countries such as America, Japan, Mexico, Britain, Spain, Germany, France, South Korea, and the Soviet Union. This practice abruptly stopped due to the dwindling panda population, where their government decided to start loaning the pandas instead.

In 1984, Beijing ceased the gifting of pandas and decided to increase their conservation efforts. They constructed short term loan agreements with other countries to send the giant pandas to zoos and national parks in order to promote breeding and socializing. The zoos can use the giant pandas to gain revenue, as well as matchmaking and producing baby cubs. In return, China receives a baby tax, where each zoo that successfully breeds the giant pandas has to pay at least $200 thousand to China for each cub. The zoos are then required to return the cubs once they are two to four years old. 

America’s panda loan is running out, and it turns out there are only two remaining zoos in America that house giant pandas. The Smithsonian National Zoo, located in Washington, DC, is required to return their giant pandas on Dec. 7. The only other zoo in America that houses giant pandas is the Atlanta Zoo, where they will be returned sometime in 2024.

The Smithsonian National Zoo will be holding a Panda Palooza, where there will be special in-person and online celebration starting from Sept. 23 to Oct. 1. Tian Tian, Mei Xiang, and Xiao Qi Ji are the giant pandas residing in Washington, DC. You can view these pandas on Smithsonian’s National Zoo website on the giant panda cam.

Until then, America gets to embrace the last remaining giant pandas until they have to return to China. These furry companions will be greatly missed within the next few years.

Go if you would like to sponsor a panda to help support WWF’s conservation efforts. 

For more information, visit,All%20of%20the%20National%20Zoo’s%20pandas%20are%20leaving%20to%20China,any%20pandas%20will%20be%20returning,, or

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