Giant pandas are black and white bears that live in temperate-zone bamboo forests in central China. Among the best recognized—but rarest—animals in the world, they have come to symbolize endangered species and conservation efforts. There are as few as 1,864 giant pandas in the wild. More than 300 pandas live in zoos and breeding centers around the world; most of these pandas are in China.
Giant pandas Mei Xiang and Tian Tian are at the National Zoo under a Giant Panda Cooperative Research and Breeding Agreement, signed in January 2011, between the Zoo and the China Wildlife Conservation Association. This extends the Zoo’s giant panda program through 2015. Mei and Tian are the focus of an ambitious research, conservation, and breeding program designed to preserve this endangered species.
On high visitation days, Asia Trail will be open to one-way traffic only. Visitors will enter Asia Trail at the sloth bear exhibit, near the Connecticut Avenue pedestrian entrance. Those visiting Bao Bao will be asked to line up outside the giant panda house in front of the panda yards. For the safety of our guests, animals, and staff, visitors will be allowed into the panda house in small groups to avoid overcrowding.
Visitors will enter the panda house from the west entrance, by the red panda exhibit, and exit the east entrance. After leaving the panda house, visitors will exit Asia Trail near Panda Plaza.
Bao Bao explored her new yard for the very first time this morning! She spent over an hour outside checking out her new digs. Keepers say that she was cautious at first (which she often is with new experiences), but explored every nook-and-cranny of the yard. She's still learning the lay-of-the-land in her yard, and touched the hot wire, which was not unexpected. Keepers have tagged the hotwires with yellow tape to help her identify them. Bao Bao actually seemed to be much more wary of some yard guests. Two wild ducks decided to hang out in her yard for a little while this morning. She was a little unsure of them and gave them a wide berth. Wild ducks sometimes stop in the panda yards for a waddle or paddle in the pools in the panda yards, but they don't pose any danger to the pandas. After Bao Bao had checked everything out she decided to head back inside. The keepers expect that she will start spending more and more time in her yard as she gets acclimated to it.Read previous panda updates.