4 Panda Information to Have a good time 50 Years of Pandas on the Nationwide Zoo – NBC4 Washington


The Nationwide Zoo in Washington, D.C., is marking 50 years because the begin of its large panda conservation program.

On April 16, 1972, large pandas Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing arrived on the Nationwide Zoo as a present from China. Within the many years since, Washingtonians have delighted in watching the zoo’s panda household develop.

A Pandaversary Occasion is deliberate to mark the event on Saturday and Sunday. There can be dwell performances, plus the pandas will get particular treats at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. every day. Right here’s extra data.

News4’s Eun Yang caught up with Brandie Smith, director of the Nationwide Zoo, who shared some essential updates and enjoyable information about a few of D.C.’s favourite bears.

“They by no means get much less cute, they by no means get previous, the magic by no means wears off,” Smith stated.

News4’s Derrick Ward appears to be like on the impression of this system and the way it continues on 50 years later.

People are biologically programmed to love pandas, Smith says

“It’s referred to as the science of awe,” Smith stated. “Whenever you see a panda, whether or not it’s tremendous cute or tremendous huge, you might be really releasing chemical substances — just like the chemical substances of childbirth, the chemical substances of affection, the chemical substances of togetherness.”

In keeping with a paper written by scientists at Berkeley College, feeling awe could make individuals extra form and beneficiant.

“Pandas really make individuals higher human beings,” Smith stated.

Xiao Qi Ji celebrated his first birthday Saturday with a specifically tailor-made fruitsicle cake. Since his beginning, the cub has captured hearts and had many first-time experiences, together with sliding and tumbling round in snow and recognizing his title, which interprets to “little miracle” in English.

Pandas have the chew power of a lion or tiger

As cute as pandas are, they’re nonetheless bears — with the claws and tooth to show it.

“One of many causes they’re so cute is as a result of they’ve the large, spherical head,” Smith stated. “What that roundness comes from is these extremely sturdy jaw muscular tissues.”

They want the jaw power to crush bamboo, Smith says.

The Nationwide Zoo’s panda program is all about conservation

The Nationwide Zoo says fewer than 2,000 large pandas dwell within the wild, so working to protect and defend these bears is a key aim.

5 cubs had been born to the primary pair of pandas on the zoo, however none survived previous a couple of days. However the previous 50 years have taught zookeepers loads about pandas and the way to protect their inhabitants numbers.

“We found loads about replica; we found loads about conduct,” Smith stated. “We’ve additionally found loads concerning the individuals who watch them — the thousands and thousands of people who find themselves fascinated with these animals — and the way we’re capable of mobilize all this curiosity right into a conservation power.”

This system flourished after Tian Tian and Mei Xiang arrived 20 years in the past. Mei Xiang gave beginning to 4 surviving cubs, Tai Shan, Bao Bao, Bei Bei and Xiao Ji Qi — the primary panda within the U.S. born after his mom was artificially inseminated with frozen, as an alternative of recent, semen.

Pictures: See Bei Bei Develop From Cub to Big Panda

Now, a few of D.C.’s favourite pandas are mother and father themselves. Tai Shan and Bao Bao are actually again in China and have 4 offspring between them, carrying on the legacy of the Nationwide Zoo program.

The Nationwide Zoo’s present panda program is about to finish subsequent yr

The pandas on the Nationwide Zoo are basically on mortgage from China.

The present settlement with the China Wildlife Conservation Affiliation is about to finish in December 2023, however Smith says she’s assured there can be extra pandas in D.C. sooner or later.

“We’re completely dedicated to have pandas for an additional 50 years and past,” Smith stated.


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