The last giant pandas living in the United States will return to China later this year

The last giant pandas living in USA will return to China at the end of this year, although this will not be the last chapter of what is known as “panda diplomacy”since Beijing has committed to sending more specimens of these emblematic bears to the North American country in the coming years.

He zoo atlantain Georgiahas announced that it will say goodbye at the end of 2024 to the four specimens it housed, the last giant pandas present in the United States.

They are Lun Lun, 26 years old, and Yang Yang, the same age, along with their twin children Ya Lun and Xi Lun, 7 years old. These are the only giant pandas left in the United States since the National Zoo in Washington last November said goodbye, with deep sadness, to the family of pandas that resided in its facilities.

Lun Lun and Yang Yang have been in Atlanta since 1999, when they arrived as part of a 25-year loan deal. Since then, they have had seven offspring, including twins Ya Lun and Xi Lun, the last descendants still remaining in the United States.

According to Zoo Atlanta in a statement issued last night, the family is expected to return to China “sometime” in the fourth quarter of 2024, although there is no exact date yet.

The statement notes that Zoo Atlanta is committed to the well-being and conservation of giant pandas, but acknowledges that a dialogue has not yet been opened with China to see if new pandas can come to live in its facilities.

In recent years, pandas from zoos in San Diego, Memphis and Washington DC have also returned to China. However, Beijing is expected to send more pandas to the United States in the coming years.

In April, it was announced that China will send giant pandas to the San Francisco Zoo for the first time, and in February, the San Diego Zoo announced it will receive two giant pandas from China, marking Beijing's first panda loan. to the United States in two decades.

Pandas are considered a “national treasure” in China. and awaken passions among the population.

China began the so-called “panda diplomacy” in the late 1950s, although it was not until 1972 when the first specimens were given to the United States after a visit to Beijing by then-president Richard Nixon.