National Zoo's panda cub named
Xiao Qi Ji or Little Miracle
The National Zoo's new panda cub has a name: Xiao Qi Ji, [pronounced SHIAU-chi-ji] a Mandarin Chinese name that means "little miracle."

The naming of the three-month-old giant panda came after five days of online voting in which over 100,000 people cast ballots, the Smithsonian Institute said in a press release announcing the name.

Xiao Qi Ji's mother, Mei Xiang, was artificially inseminated on March 22 from the cub's father, Tian Tian. The pregnancy was confirmed in an ultrasound on August 14.

Mei Xiang gave birth to Xiao Qi Ji on August 21, the National Zoo's website said.
The breeding program of giant pandas at the Smithsonian Institute's National Zoo dates back to 1972. President Richard Nixon traveled to Beijing for the famed opening of China where officials offered to send a pair of giant pandas as an offering of good will.

Giant pandas are highly endangered animals. There were fewer than 2,000 giant pandas living in the wild in 2014, according to the World Wildlife Foundation. However, the exact number is unknown. Scientists agree that the wild panda population has rebounded since the 1970s, the first time China conducted a survey of the animal.

The National Zoo's breeding program has mixed success due to the difficulty that giant pandas often have reproducing in captivity; for the first 20 years after the first two pandas arrived in Washington in 1972, all five cubs that Ling Ling and Hsing Hsing had died within days after birth.

Pandas leave Canada for China's bamboo
Er Shun and Da Mao arrived in Canada in 2014 and were due to stay for 10 years, as part of an agreement between Canada and China. They had been loaned as a sign of goodwill between the two countries, a gesture sometimes referred to as "panda diplomacy".

According to the zoo, 99% of a giant panda's diet is made up of fresh bamboo and each adult giant panda consumes approximately 40kg (88lbs) of bamboo daily.
The Alberta-based zoo had been importing fresh bamboo from China, but struggled to meet the pandas needs when the coronavirus grounded most flights in March.
In May, the zoo announced it would have to return the two animals four years earlier than planned so that they could enjoy China's abundant supply of fresh bamboo instead.

But in August, the zoo said that, despite working with both the Canadian and Chinese governments, China had not approved international permits due to pandemic-related changes in its import laws and quarantine facilities. Fresh bamboo could only be reliably sourced from the neighboring province of British Columbia, and that supply was dwindling fast, the zoo said at the time.

"The continued delays in international permitting is putting the health and welfare of these two beautiful giant pandas in jeopardy," Calgary Zoo president Clément Lanthier said in a statement. The zoo said on Friday that after "months and months of hard work" it had secured international permits "to get our beloved pandas home to China".

US National Zoo: We hope to keep pandas longer

Americans celebrated their newest giant panda cub by formally giving him a name last month, but they face a somber reality: The loan agreement of the newborn's parents, the bears who came to the National Zoo 20 years ago, will expire on Dec 7.
"It is our hope that we will have these pandas for just a few more years," Dr Steven Monfort, director of the Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute, told China Daily on Sunday. "And then in the future, after they go to China, in the long run, we'd very much like to keep this relationship going, and maybe that means another agreement with a different set of pandas," he said.

Right now, the only thing the National Zoo has requested was an extension for Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, the current pair, instead of asking for any new pandas, according to the zoo chief. Monfort went to Beijing for talks about the loan in January, right before the COVID-19 pandemic stopped travel. He said he is now waiting for "our Chinese colleagues to give a final answer".

The Giant Panda Cooperative Research and Breeding Agreement, signed between the National Zoo and the China Wildlife Conservation Association, has been renewed by five-year terms twice since the first 10-year loan expired in 2010. The deal that last extended in 2015 ends in early December.

Wearing a mask and speaking near the panda's outdoor habitat at the zoo, the veteran conservation biologist said that the birth of the panda cub sparked a great joy during the pandemic. The cub, born on Aug 21, is the fourth surviving cub born at the National Zoo in more than four decades since the first pair, Ling Ling and Hsing Hsing, arrived in April 1972, weeks after then-US president Richard Nixon's historic China visit.

Over the next 20 years, that couple produced five cubs, but none survived more than a few days.

The arrival of a new couple, Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, in 2000 changed the situation. Between 2005 and this year, Mei Xiang, age 22, has given birth to four surviving cubs.

"When he was born, everyone had been suffering for so many months," Monfort said. "This is just a time when we think about something very joyful and happy to forget about all the troubles for just even for a few minutes every day."

At least 1.5 million people have watched the zoo's Panda Cams since the cub was born. The panda zone has been closed since March due to the pandemic, making the 24/7 web camera the only source for people to see the cub and his parents, according to the zoo sources.

Adorable pandas wrestle in snow
at NW China Sanctuary
A surveillance camera captured adorable giant pandas playing in snow at the Qinling Panda Breeding and Research Center in northwest China's Shaanxi Province. The center is home to 32 captive-bred pandas, with four cubs born this year. The center started its work over a decade ago, focusing on panda protection, breeding and research in the Qinling Mountains, which stretch through the southern part of Shaanxi and act as the geographical boundary between southern and northern China.
Olivia Helps the Pandas
Hi, my name is Olivia, and I am 8 years old. This summer, I learned that pandas are going extinct. I also learned that pandas only eat bamboo. But, bamboo is being cut down which means there is less food for the pandas to eat, and that’s part of the reason they are going extinct. After learning about this, that’s when I knew I had to help the pandas.

Because of this, I decided when I had a birthday party with my friends this summer, I did not need gifts. Instead, I asked people to donate money to help save the pandas. I really wanted to help them. I raised $100, and I was able to sponsor two pandas through Pennies 4 Pandas.

I think it’s important to help save animals in our world because every single animal is part of our ecosystem, which means that every single animal has a part in the ecosystem. Without one part of our ecosystem, other parts may come crashing down. For example, if fish were gone, then bears would not have fish for food, so then they might go extinct. That’s why it is important to protect all of the animals in the ecosystem.

So please donate money for pandas. It will help the pandas and our ecosystem a lot.

Thank you Olivia for your generosity and help with saving the giant pandas.
16th cub born to world’s oldest giant panda father

Infrared cameras capture two wild
pandas in SW China
Baby Panda
Makes her Debut

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