Is there a better mom and dad duo than Mei Xiang and Tian Tian?
Since their arrival in 2000, the giant pandas have been fantastic (and photogenic) representatives of their home country of China. They are also the parents of three thriving cubs, including Bei Bei who currently calls the Smithsonian's National Zoo home.
Mei Xiang and Tian Tian arrived at an important moment for the Zoo. Giant panda Hsing-Hsing had passed away the year before, which marked the first time in a quarter century that the Zoo was without pandas. Understanding the importance of these ursine ambassadors, Friends of the National Zoo had already been working for a few years to bring another pair of pandas to the nation’s capital.
"The pandas had been very important to Zoo visitors," said Steve Hosmer, former FONZ president. "For 25 years, millions of visitors had associated giant pandas with the Zoo and expected to see them."Friends of the National Zoo raised nearly $13 million to bring Mei Xiang and Tian Tian to the Zoo from China. FONZ literally helped bring them stateside, too, aboard FedEx's Panda One Express.
Today, you can still find 20-year-old Tian Tian and 19-year-old Mei Xiang at the Zoo, munching on bamboo in their yards or taking a nap inside the David M. Rubenstein Family Giant Panda Habitat on Asia Trail.
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This year, Friends of the National Zoo is celebrating its 60th anniversary. We couldn't have made it this far without your energy, passion and support. With your donation of $60 or more today, we can accomplish so much more—from inspiring, to educating, to helping save species.