China-America Giant Panda program ends after 50 years

The China-America Giant Panda program at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington DC has come to its natural end after 50 years. But maybe a new China-America loan program will commence and continue America’s love affair with the Giant Panda. 

The Atlanta Zoo in Georgia still has its Giant Pandas, although the loan program expires in late 2024. 

The agreement for the loan was that all offspring of any Giant Panda in America, or any other country, are required to travel home to China when they are of travel age. The Atlanta Zoo’s Giant Panda couple Lun Lun and Yang Yang have had five offspring returned to China. There are two offspring still in Atlanta – Ya Lun and Xi Lun. All four of them – the parents and the two cubs – will return to China at the end of 2024.

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RESEARCH: Tracking Red Pandas in Nepal

Research scientists are satellite tracking the movements of Red Pandas in the mountains of Nepal. 

Red Pandas (Ailurus fulgens) are endangered and there are only a few thousand individuals in their native environment in the eastern Himalayas and in southwestern China. The population numbers are declining due to habitat loss, poaching (illegal hunting), and inbreeding. 

In Nepal, Red Pandas are a protected species. The conservation scientists have put Global Positioning System (GPS) collars on 10 Red Pandas to remotely monitor their range of movements in the forests near Mount Kangchenjunga. 

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Giant Panda

The Giant Panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) is a mammal in the bear family. It is also known as a Panda Bear.

The Giant Panda has smooth, thick, black and white fur. It has black patches around its eyes, over it ears, and across its body. It has five fingers and an enlarged bone called the pseudo thumb, which enables it to grip bamboo shoots. Its face is round with round black ears.

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