After 2023 Georgia Will be the Only place You can See a Panda in the United States
Zoogoers have enjoyed getting to see exotic animals all over the nation for decades. One of those animals being pandas. Well the ability to see the pandas in the U.S. has come to an end. By the end of 2023, pandas will be returned to China – except for in one place – Zoo Atlanta.
Why Will the Pandas Remain at Zoo Atlanta?
The first pair of pandas was gifted to America by China in 1972. This was a a gesture of friendship between the two countries. A conservation and breeding agreement with China was also put in place between the U.S. and China.
It was originally placed for 10 years, but has been extended several times. December 2023 marks the expiration of that loan agreement. Now that the agreement is coming to a close, without another extension, pandas have been scheduled to head back to China in December. This has been said to possibly come from increased political tensions between the U.S. and China.
So in 2024, Zoo Atlanta will be the only place in America you can see pandas.
Atlanta negotiated an extension of their contract in regards to panda Twins Ya Lun and Xi Lun.
The twins were supposed to travel back to China when they were of age, but due to the pandemic, the twins never traveled back to China. So instead of heading out in December 2023, with the rest of the pandas, they will remain in Zoo Atlanta until early 2024.
This won’t be the first time that pandas have traveled back to China from Zoo Atlanta, but the most significant, because the age difference. Ya Lun and Xi Lun will be significantly older than other pandas who have made the trip. Ya Lun and Xi Lun are six years old. The other pandas who traveled were no older than five.
Currently, there are only 7 pandas in the USA with three of those pandas being in DC at the Smithsonian Zoo and four of them in Atlanta.
There is no set deadline for the exact departure date just yet.