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Pandas at Washington DC's National Zoo

Pandas Tian Tian and Mei Xiang

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Pandas at Washington DC's National Zoo © Rachel Cooper, licensed to About.com, Inc.

Pandas Tian Tian and Mei Xiang arrived at the National Zoo in Washington DC on December 2000 and are on exhibit under a 10-year, $10 million loan agreement with China. The contract for the Giant Pandas was renewed in January 2011 and the National Zoo will keep them for an additional five years. Mei Xiang gave birth to a male cub, Tai Shan, on July 9, 2005. He moved to China in February 2010. The pandas live at the Fujifilm Giant Panda Habitat, a state-of-the-art indoor and outdoor exhibit designed to mimic the pandas' natural habitat of rocky, lush terrain in China.

Mei Xiang gave birth to another panda cub on August 23, 2013. Zoo veterinarians report that the cub is healthy, active and vibrant. The newest panda cub is female and named Bao Bao. When the cub is 4 years old she will move permanently to the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda in Wolong where she will enter into the giant panda breeding program. Bao Bao will make her public debut Jan. 18, 2014. The panda house will be open from 8 a.m to 4:30 p.m. from Jan. 18 to Jan. 20. Beginning Jan. 21 it will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

See Photos of the Pandas.

The Giant Pandas' Habitat

The Fujifilm Giant Panda Habitat opened as part of the National Zoo's Asia Trail on October 17, 2006 adding more than 12,000 square feet to the Pandas' outdoor exhibit and additions to the indoor exhibit providing more visitor viewing space and informational exhibits.

The outdoor exhibit was designed to recreate the Pandas' natural habitat including rock and tree structures for climbing; grottoes, pools, and streams for keeping cool; and shrubs and trees, including weeping willows, corktrees, maples, and several species of bamboo. Visitors can view the Pandas from two levels and can get much closer to them than ever before. The Giant Panda Experience Zone enables visitors to get up close to examine the pandas, with only a glass barrier between them.

At the Plaza's Decision Stations, you can learn more about efforts to save pandas, see a topographic map of the mountains of central China, and experience multimedia displays of photos, video, and audio exploring the life of the Giant Pandas.

See a selection of panda toys and books

Read More About the National Zoo

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