Giant panda Mei Xiang returns with her family of three from Michigan
Giant panda Mei Xiang returns with her family of three from Michigan: Giant pandas “Mei Xiang” and “Tian Tian” living in the United States and their male cub “Little Miracle” who was born and raised in Washington set out to return to China on Wednesday (November 8).
“Xinhua News Agency” reported that on the morning of the 8th, staff at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Zoo in Washington transported three special “travel boxes” containing giant pandas, 220 pounds (about 100 kilograms) of bamboo, drinking water, and related supplies. After getting on the truck, the convoy carrying “Meixiang”, “Timothy” and “Little Miracle” left the zoo and headed for Washington Dulles International Airport.
Xu Xueyuan, Minister of the Chinese Embassy in the United States, said at a brief ceremony held at the zoo that since Mei Xiang and Tian Tian arrived at the Smithsonian Institution National Zoo in 2000, China and the United States have carried out close and ongoing cooperation in the protection and research of giant pandas. The fruitful cooperation has effectively promoted mutual understanding and friendship between the two peoples.
“In the future, China will continue to cooperate closely with partners, including the United States, in the protection and research of endangered species and biodiversity protection, and make greater contributions to sustainable development and friendship among people of all countries.”
Meixiang and Tiantian have always been zoo “stars” and American “idols”
Brandi Smith, director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Zoo and Conservation Institute, said this is a historic moment that is both difficult and gratifying. “Meixiang” and “Tiantian” have been the “stars” of the zoo since they came to the United States, and have become “idols” across the United States.
Smith later said at a ceremony held at the airport that the U.S.-China cooperation in giant panda conservation research has lasted for more than 50 years, which is the longest-lasting cooperation in the world for the protection of a single species. “Our partnership with China is extraordinary.”
At about 1 p.m. local time in the United States, the special plane taking off “Meixiang” and her family took off.
According to the personnel of the American FedEx company that provides this transportation service, the plane will stop in Anchorage, United States, and then go to Chengdu, China. The journey will take about 19 hours and will be accompanied by a veterinarian and two breeders throughout the journey.
“Meixiang” and “Tiantian” have given birth to four cubs in total during their 23 years in the United States. Among them, “Taishan”, “Baby” and “Beibei” have returned to China. “Little Miracle” was born on August 21, 2020, when the COVID-19 epidemic swept the world. The birth of “Little Miracle” brought joy and hope to the local people.
After “Meixiang” and her family of three returned to China, there was also a pair of giant panda sisters “Yalun” and “Xilun” at the Atlanta Zoo in the United States.