Smithsonian National Zoological Park l Friends of the National Zoo



Mei Xiang

News from the David M. Rubenstein Family Giant Panda Habitat

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.

Seeing Pandas at the Zoo

PANDA HOUSE CLOSED: Mei Xiang has given birth! The Panda House will remain closed while our team and Mei Xiang care for the newborn. As always, you can watch on the panda cams, and visitors will be able to see Tian Tian and Bao Bao outside.

  • The panda house at the David M. Rubenstein Family Giant Panda Habitat is closed until further notice.
  • Flash photography and video are welcome, but please refrain from setting up tripods, or other stationary equipment.

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.

September 1

Follow our #PandaStory on Instagram or on our website!

Mei Xiang decided to eat some sugarcane and drink dilute apple juice the keepers left for her yesterday evening around 6 p.m. Two hours later, she left the den to urinate and defecate—only the second time she’s done that since giving birth. She put the cub down when she left the den and he was very quiet for the while she was gone. Over the next few weeks she will get more comfortable leaving him for increasingly longer periods of time to eat and drink. While Mei was away, our behavior watchers captured a fantastic view close-up of the cub!

Read previous panda updates.