For Release: April 24, 2007
John Gibbons (202) 633-3083 or (202) 391-4231
Pamela Baker-Masson (202) 633-3084
National Zoo’s Giant Panda Cub Will Stay Two More Years
During a press conference this morning at the National Zoo’s Fujifilm Giant Panda Habitat, His Excellency Zhou Wenzhong, ambassador of The People’s Republic of China, announced that Tai Shan (tie-SHON), the giant panda cub at Smithsonian’s National Zoo, may stay an additional two years past his second birthday, which is July 9.
“This is great news,” said National Zoo Director John Berry. “Not only will this give us the opportunity to continue charting his growth and development, but it also gives the public two more years to come visit him here at the National Zoo.” Under the current loan agreement the National Zoo has with China, any giant panda cub born at the National Zoo would belong to China and would be sent to a preserve there sometime after the cub’s second birthday.
Tai Shan, whose name means “peaceful mountain” in Chinese, was born at 3:41 a.m., weighing only a few ounces at birth; he now weighs 125 pounds. The first cub for mother Mei Xiang (may-SHONG) and father Tian Tian (tee-YEN tee-YEN), he was conceived through artificial insemination March 11, 2005, in a procedure performed by National Zoo scientists and veterinarians.
Since his public debut in December 2005, Tai Shan has delighted an estimated 2.25 million visitors who have come to the National Zoo to see him in person. He also has touched fans from around the world through the Zoo’s giant panda Web site, which has drawn about 1 million visits each month since the cub’s birth.
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Note to editors: Photos of Tai Shan are available from the Zoo’s Office of Public Affairs.