Giant Pandas at D.C. zoo to return to China after 23 years
Giant pandas lost their endangered species status on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List in 2016.
Giant pandas that have resided at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, D.C., will return to China after roughly 23 years.
Mei Xiang and Tian Tian have resided at the zoo since 2000 and were initially meant to stay for only ten years, according to The Hill. However, a series of renewals have prolonged their stay.
Upon the Dec. 7 expiration of the latest agreement, the pair, along with cub Xiao Qi Ji, will go to China. The two elder pandas arrived stateside as part of a breeding program, which resulted in the birth of three other cubs that have since gone to Asia.
To send off the pandas, the zoo plans to hold "Panda Palooza" from Sept. 23 to Oct. 1.
Giant pandas lost their endangered species status on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List in 2016, but remain in the vulnerable category, according to the World Wildlife Fund.
Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on X, formerly Twitter.