San Francisco Zoo to receive pandas from China

Mayor London Breed made the announcement on Friday.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced that the city will be receiving pandas from China as part of Beijing’s “panda diplomacy.”

San Francisco will host the pandas long-term, following a yearlong advocacy campaign.


The big picture: This announcement follows San Diego’s previous announcement in February that it would also be receiving pandas.

  • China, as the natural habitat of pandas and owning most of the black-and-white bears in the world, loans pandas to other countries as a tool for diplomacy and wildlife conservation.
  • The city of San Francisco has been working with its Chinese and Asian communities to advocate for the pandas for nearly a year.
  • The arrival of the pandas is expected in 2025, and preparations will be made by the China Wildlife Conservation Association and San Francisco officials to ensure the technical standards for their conservation.
  • China’s agreement to send pandas to San Diego earlier this year was the first time in over two decades that such a loan had been agreed upon.
  • Currently, there are only four giant pandas in the U.S., all located at the zoo in Atlanta, as China has not renewed loan agreements at other zoos in Washington, D.C., and Memphis, Tennessee.
  • The pandas are seen as a symbol of U.S.-China friendship and were initially gifted to the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., in 1972.
  • The announcement comes ahead of U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s planned visit to China next week, as part of ongoing diplomatic exchanges between the two countries to ease tensions.
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