Zoo Celebrates Anniversary of Giant Pandas' Arrival
January 4, 2002
Mike Morgan / 202-673-0209
January 10 Marks The First Anniversary Of Giant Pandas Tian Tian And Mei Xiang at the Smithsonian's National Zoo
Giant pandas Tian Tian and Mei Xiang arrived at the Smithsonian's National Zoological Park December 6, 2000, and made their first public appearance January 10, 2001. Now, exactly one year later, the National Zoo celebrates this anniversary and shares what it has learned about the popular bears.
Mei Xiang and Tian Tian will celebrate with a special treat—sugar cane—and Zoo staff will celebrate with the naming of the pandas' exhibit to the Fujifilm Giant Panda Conservation Habitat.
This exhibit will soon include a new outdoor habitat for the pandas designed specifically to meet their preferences and to highlight the Zoo's giant panda research and education program. This new habitat will also be the anchor of a major renovation at the Zoo, called Asia Trail. At the conclusion of the ceremony, a sign will be unveiled to reveal the exhibit's new name.
The giant panda exhibit's outdoor enclosure. Media representatives covering this event should park in Lot B in front of the Elephant House.
Thursday, January 10, at 10 a.m.
Dennis O'Connor, Under Secretary for Science, Smithsonian Institution
Lucy Spelman, Director, Smithsonian National Zoological Park
Stanley E. Freimuth, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Fuji Photo Film, U.S.A.
Giant pandas Mei Xiang and Tian Tian
Successful private fund-raising efforts made it possible to bring the giant pandas to the National Zoo. No federal funds were used to support the ten-year panda loan agreement. The Fujifilm contribution—the largest single sponsorship ever received by the National Zoo—helped acquire the pandas, and now supports the planning and construction of a new, expanded panda habitat.
The enlarged exhibit for the giant pandas will anchor the new Asia Trail, which should open in 2004. The first phase of Asia Trail will begin with a sloth bear exhibit, followed by a red panda exhibit, then a fishing cat exhibit, and will finish with the new panda habitat. The second phase of the Asia Trail will include a new Asian elephant exhibit, expected to open in phases beginning in 2005.
The Zoo is contributing $1 million per year for ten years
to the China Wildlife Conservation Association (CWCA) in
Beijing for the long-term loan of these two giant pandas.
The support received by the CWCA is to be used to expand
and improve protected giant panda habitat in China.
Additional donated funding is being directed toward support for scientific research and professional training of reserve personnel in China to help promote the long-term conservation of the species in the wild. See Around the Rim in Fourteen Days and Panda Conservation Brings Lucy Spelman Back to China for details.
Media representatives covering this event should park in Lot B in front of the Elephant House.
Remarks will be made by:
Dr. Lucy Spelman, Director of the National Zoo
Mr. Stanley E. Freimuth, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Fuji Photo Film U.S.A.
Special family activities related to this event: On January 10, Fujifilm will distribute giant panda trading cards free to kids visiting the Fujifilm Giant Panda Conservation Habitat.
On January 12, Friends of the National Zoo will sponsor a Giant Panda Day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Activities will include a panda geography game, hourly keeper talks, panda enrichment demonstration, and arts and crafts.
Also, on the evenings of January 15 and 16, the National Zoo will host a series of public lectures on giant panda research conducted by Zoo staff while in China as well as at the Zoo. Scientists will describe what has been learned about giant pandas that may help preserve the species.
Admission to all events is free.