Giant pandas, known for their distinctive black and white fur, are one of the most iconic and beloved animals globally.
So of course, they'll make the news. As the news channel @nbcwashington reported on November 8, the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is saying goodbye to its giant pandas as they're on their way back to China. Let's take a look!
Aw, they're returning back home.
The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., which had three giant pandas, Tian Tian, age 26; Mei Xiang, age 25; and Xiao Qi Ji, age 3, on loan from China, is now returning them back home to be brought to the China Wildlife Conservation Association.
According to the senior curator at the National Zoo, Bryan Amaral, it's, so to speak, a "panda base."
"It's a place where they have lots and lots of giant pandas, very similar to what you would see -- how our giant pandas live here, very similar to that," Amaral said. "They just have a lot more giant pandas than we have. Where we have elephants and, you know, all kinds of other things, they have just pandas."
Since 1972, the pandas have served as a sort of agreement between the United States, and the first pair of pandas, Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing, were gifted to President Richard Nixon that year, who took a trip to China, according to NBC Washington.
China has pulled a lot of its pandas from different Western zoos as their contracts have expired, the Associated Press reported.
This, however, is not due to political reasons; these negotiations depend from researcher to researcher, Zoo Director Brandie Smith told NBC Washington.
"We're a bunch of scientists; we're a bunch of animal people," Smith said. "This is not a political conversation. This is absolutely a conversation between colleagues talking about, what's best for the overall program, and also, what can be best for individual animals?"
We're sad to see them leave, but we understand it's time for them to return home and be surrounded by a lot of other giant pandas.
Looking for more PetHelpful updates? Follow us on YouTube for more entertaining videos. Or, share your own adorable pet by submitting a video, and sign up for our newsletter for the latest pet updates and tips.