In 1941, the Government of the Republic of China presented a pair of pandas to the United States to express its gratitude, since the US had made efforts in rescuing the Chinese refugees in the Second World War.
On February 21, 1972, the US President, Nixon, visited China. On the day after she arrived in Beijing, Mrs. Pat Nixon visited the Beijing Zoo and had close contact with the pandas there.
Having witnessed the concerns of the visitors from the US and the US advance team on the pandas, the Chinese authorities determined that the Americans had a great interest in pandas. Later, at a banquet during the visit, Premier Zhou Enlai handed a pack of panda-brand cigarettes to Nixon’s wife, Pat Nixon, promising that he would give two pandas to the United States.
In April 1972, the two pandas Xing Xing and Ling Ling arrived in Washington DC.
During the Olympic Games in Los Angeles in 1984, China temporarily lent the pandas “Yong Yong” and “Ying Xing” at the Beijing Zoo to the Los Angeles Zoo, for a three-month tour to show China’s support for the Games.
In 1996, the pandas “Bai Yun” and “Shi Shi” were exported to the San Diego Zoo in the United States. Unlike the short-term rent in the past, the long-term rent at this time was mainly for the purposes of research and breeding, and also to allow foreigners to understand more about China’s efforts in the protection of pandas.
Currently, pandas are found in four different zoos in the United States.
Bai Yun and her baby “Little Gift” are at the San Diego Zoo (Little Gift was born in 2012).
There are three in Washington National Zoo – Tian Tian, Mei Xiang (arrived in 2000) and Bei Bei (born in 2015).
There are four in Atlanta Zoo – Lun Lun and Yang Yang (arrived in 1999) and a pair of twins Ya Lun, Xi Lun (born in 2016).
Two pandas are in Memphis Zoo – Ya Ya and Le Le (arrived in 2003).