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Giant Panda 50th Anniversary Media Resources

  • Giant panda cub Mei Xiang licks her cub's head as he stands on a log
    Mei Xiang and cub Tai Shan
  • Female giant panda Mei Xiang stands in a grassy, mulch-covered area
    Mei Xiang
  • Giant panda Mei Xiang and her cub together in a grassy yard outdoors
    Mei Xiang and cub Bao Bao
  • Giant panda Mei Xiang stands in the grass beside her cub as it climbs a log in a grassy yrad
    Mei Xiang and cub Bei Bei
  • Giant panda mom and cub eat an ice cake shaped like the number 1 for the cub's first birthday
    Mei Xiang and cub Xiao Qi Ji
  • Giant panda Tian Tian rolling in snow
    Tian Tian
  • Giant panda Tian Tian eating bamboo
    Tian TIan
  • Giant panda Tian Tian leans against the trunk of a tree and eats bamboo
    Tian Tian
  • Giant panda cub Tai Shan rests on a tree branch
    Tai Shan
  • A close-up of adult male giant panda Tai Shan
    Tai Shan
  • Giant panda cub Tai Shan cralws on a table during a veterinary exam
    Tai Shan
  • Giant panda cub Bao Bao is held by a veterinarian
    Bao Bao
  • Giant panda cub Bao Bao sits on a rock eating a piece of bamboo
    Bao Bao
  • Giant panda Bao Bao climbs over a log near leafy greenery in an outdoor yard
    Bao Bao
  • Giant panda cub Bei Bei asleep on a table; he has only a light layer of fur and his markings are visible
    Bei Bei
  • Giant panda cub Bei Bei stands with his front paws on a rock
    Bei Bei
  • Giant panda Bei Bei sitting in a hammock made of recycled fire hose
    Bei Bei
  • 1-month-old giant panda cub Xiao Qi Ji asleep on a towel
    Xiao Qi Ji
  • Giant panda Xiao Qi Ji climbs over criss-crossed logs in his outdoor yard
    Xiao Qi Ji
  • Giant panda cub Xiao Qi Ji Jan. 6, 2021.
    Xiao Qi Ji
  • Giant pandas Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing together in their yard at the Zoo
    Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing
  • Giant pandas Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing touch noses. One of them is standing on a wooden platform and the other is climbing the steps of the platform
    Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing
  • Giant pandas Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing walk side-by-side in the grass
    Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing
  • Giant pandas Mei Xiang and Tian Tian sit side-by-side in the snow eating bamboo
    Mei Xiang and Tian Tian
  • Giant pandas Mei Xiang and Tian Tian wrestle in a grassy yard near leafy trees
    Mei Xiang and Tian Tian
  • Giant pandas Mei Xiang and Tian Tian climb on a log in a grassy yard
    Mei Xiang and Tian Tian
  • US First Lady Michelle Obama and Chinese First Lady Peng Liyuan pose with a group of school children after naming giant panda Bei Bei
    Sept. 25, 2015. First Lady of the U.S. Michelle Obama hosted First Lady of the People's Republic of China Peng Liyuan at the Zoo to commemorate over four decades of scientific collaboration between the U.S. and China around giant panda conservation. They selected the name "Bei Bei" for the giant panda cub born at the Zoo Aug. 22, 2015. Third-grade students from the Washington Yu Ying Public Charter School assisted the First Ladies by unfurling the scrolls to reveal the cub's name.
  • A giant panda lays in a training chute while veterinarians perform an ultrasound and review the images on a laptop
    Animal care staff build trust with the Zoo’s giant pandas through positive reinforcement training. This enables the bears to voluntarily participate in their own health care. Keepers and veterinarians examine the pandas, administer medications and conduct medical procedures while they are awake, lessening the need for anesthesia. When the pandas do the behaviors asked of them, they receive verbal praise and a favorite treat, such as honey water.
  • Giant panda cub Xiao Qi Ji plays with an enrichment toy on a rock structure in his indoor habitat
    Every day, the Zoo’s giant pandas receive a variety of enrichment items and activities, which help them keep physically active and mentally sharp. They also encourage the bears to use their natural behaviors. Enrichment can be anything from sensory experiences (spices for scent-anointing or bubbles for popping) to physical objects and toys (puzzle feeders), to social interactions (painting with keepers) and environmental stimuli (exploring a different habitat).
  • A giant panda standing near a series of enrichment items placed throughout a grassy yard
    Every day, the Zoo’s giant pandas receive a variety of enrichment items and activities, which help them keep physically active and mentally sharp. They also encourage the bears to use their natural behaviors. Enrichment can be anything from sensory experiences (spices for scent-anointing or bubbles for popping) to physical objects and toys (puzzle feeders), to social interactions (painting with keepers) and environmental stimuli (exploring a different habitat).
  • Giant panda team poses together for a photo on an exhibit pathway at the Zoo
    The giant panda team takes care of the Zoo’s giant pandas every day—including weekends, holidays and during bad weather. Their daily duties include monitoring the bears’ behavior, preparing their diets, readying their enrichment, conducting training sessions, collecting urine and fecal samples for scientists to study and cleaning their habitats. Keepers log details about each panda’s activities in their daily reports to track their health and activity trends.
  • A giant panda keeper smiles at a giant panda cub resting on a table in front of her
    The giant panda team takes care of the Zoo’s giant pandas every day—including weekends, holidays and during bad weather. Their daily duties include monitoring the bears’ behavior, preparing their diets, readying their enrichment, conducting training sessions, collecting urine and fecal samples for scientists to study and cleaning their habitats. Keepers log details about each panda’s activities in their daily reports to track their health and activity trends.
  • A giant panda lays on its back in the grass and holds an enrichment feeder up to its mouth
    Every day, the Zoo’s giant pandas receive a variety of enrichment items and activities, which help them keep physically active and mentally sharp. They also encourage the bears to use their natural behaviors. Enrichment can be anything from sensory experiences (spices for scent-anointing or bubbles for popping) to physical objects and toys (puzzle feeders), to social interactions (painting with keepers) and environmental stimuli (exploring a different habitat).
  • Giant panda cub Xiao Qi Ji stands on rockwork in his habitat and tastes the leaves on a piece of bamboo.
    Working with local landowners, the Zoo’s Department of Nutrition Science team harvests the giant pandas’ favorite food—bamboo—from 20 stands across Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia. Depending on the time of year, the pandas may eat the shoots, culm (stalk) or leaves. The bears also receive apples, pears, sweet potatoes, high-fiber biscuits and honey water inside enrichment puzzle feeders or during positive reinforcement training sessions.
  • A panda keeper works with a giant panda cub using a training tool (a stick with a colorful sphere at the end)
    The giant panda team takes care of the Zoo’s giant pandas every day—including weekends, holidays and during bad weather. Their daily duties include monitoring the bears’ behavior, preparing their diets, readying their enrichment, conducting training sessions, collecting urine and fecal samples for scientists to study and cleaning their habitats. Keepers log details about each panda’s activities in their daily reports to track their health and activity trends.
  • Two scientists sit together at a desk with a microscope and other equipment and review data on a digital tablet
    Giant pandas bring colleagues from the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute and China together for a common goal: advancing global scientific knowledge of the species. Comprehensive workshops and hands-on training courses in medicine, surgery, anesthesia, imaging and field healthcare enable scientists to share expertise and build skills.
  • First Lady Patricia Nixon with a group of people at the welcome ceremony for giant pandas Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing
    First Lady Patricia Nixon at the Zoo on April 20, 1972, for the official welcome ceremony for giant pandas Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing, a gift from China to the American people. The panda pair first arrived at the Zoo on Sunday, April 16, 1972. Photo courtesy of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library
  • A White House press release detailing the April 20, 1972 ceremony when First Lady Patricia Nixon officially welcomed giant pandas Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing to the Smithsonian's National Zoo
    Giant pandas Ling Ling and Hsing Hsing first arrived at the Zoo on Sunday, April 16, 1972. This White House press release provides details on the April 20, 1972 ceremony when First Lady Patricia Nixon officially welcomed giant pandas Ling Ling and Hsing Hsing accompanied by Dr. Theodore Reed, director of the Zoo, and Smithsonian Secretary S. Dillon Ripley. Photo courtesy of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library
  • Scientists and animal keepers artificially inseminate giant panda Mei Xiang
    To ensure the future of the species, Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute scientists have become experts in facilitating giant panda reproduction.
  • A team of veterinarians and reproductive biologists perform a procedure on a sedated giant panda
    To ensure the future of the species, Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute scientists have become experts in facilitating giant panda reproduction.
  •  Ecologist Mel Songer and Professor Lui Xuehua working with a team of Tsinghua University students and rangers from Foping National Nature Reserve
    Ecologist Mel Songer and Professor Lui Xuehua working with a team of Tsinghua University students and rangers from Foping National Nature Reserve to collect data on vegetation, climate, and locations of giant pandas and other wildlife species that share their ecosystem.
  • A camera trap photo of a giant panda; Mandarin Chinese text on the image in English is "Tsinghua University School of Environment, Shaanxi Guanyingshan Nature Reserve, Shaanxi Foping Nature Reserve, US National Zoological Park Conservation Ecology Center"
  • Scientist Dr. JoGayle Howard and others during a veterinary procedure with a giant panda that is sedated on a table
    Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute scientist Dr. JoGayle Howard was a leader in understanding the reproductive biology of the world’s beloved giant panda. Her studies along with Chinese and American colleagues helped identify the causes of poor reproduction in giant pandas in breeding centers and zoos, which helped contribute to a panda population explosion over the past decade. With Chinese colleagues, she developed new protocols for sperm cryopreservation and artificial insemination.
  • Scientist Dr. Dave Wildt (left) speaks with Dr. Li Desheng (right) inside the giant panda house at the Smithsonian's National Zoo
    Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute scientist Dr. Dave Wildt (left) speaks with Dr. Li Desheng from the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda during Mei Xiang's artificial insemination Apr. 29, 2012. A seminal leader in conservation biology, Wildt's prolific breakthroughs in reproductive biology and population genetics benefitted wildlife enormously.
  • First Lady Patricia Nixon speaks at a podium at the Zoo April 20, 1972, for the official welcome ceremony for giant pandas Ling Ling and Hsing Hsing
    First Lady Patricia Nixon at the Zoo on April 20, 1972, for the official welcome ceremony for giant pandas Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing, a gift from China to the American people. The panda pair first arrived at the Zoo on Sunday, April 16, 1972. Photo courtesy of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library
  • First Lady Patricia Nixon speaks at a podium at the Zoo April 20, 1972, for the official welcome ceremony for giant pandas Ling Ling and Hsing Hsing
    First Lady Patricia Nixon at the Zoo on April 20, 1972, for the official welcome ceremony for giant pandas Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing, a gift from China to the American people. The panda pair first arrived at the Zoo on Sunday, April 16, 1972. Photo courtesy of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library
  • First Lady Patricia Nixon stands near a podium and looks at a photo of giant pandas April 20, 1972, for the official welcome ceremony for giant pandas Ling Ling and Hsing Hsing
    First Lady Patricia Nixon at the Zoo on April 20, 1972, for the official welcome ceremony for giant pandas Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing, a gift from China to the American people. The panda pair first arrived at the Zoo on Sunday, April 16, 1972. Photo courtesy of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library
  • Journalists stand in a crowd and photograph giant pandas; First Lady Patricia Nixon stands in front of them outside the indoor giant panda habitat
    First Lady Patricia Nixon at the Zoo on April 20, 1972, for the official welcome ceremony for giant pandas Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing, a gift from China to the American people. The panda pair first arrived at the Zoo on Sunday, April 16, 1972. Photo courtesy of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library
  • Reporters, photographers and First Lady Patricia Nixon stand in front of an exhibit with a giant panda
    First Lady Patricia Nixon at the Zoo on April 20, 1972, for the official welcome ceremony for giant pandas Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing, a gift from China to the American people. The panda pair first arrived at the Zoo on Sunday, April 16, 1972. Photo courtesy of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library
  • First Lady Patricia Nixon receives a gift at the Zoo April 20, 1972, for the official welcome ceremony for giant pandas Ling Ling and Hsing Hsing
    First Lady Patricia Nixon at the Zoo on April 20, 1972, for the official welcome ceremony for giant pandas Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing, a gift from China to the American people. The panda pair first arrived at the Zoo on Sunday, April 16, 1972. Photo courtesy of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library
  • First Lady Patricia Nixon receives a gift of a photo of giant pandas at the Zoo April 20, 1972, for the official welcome ceremony for giant pandas Ling Ling and Hsing Hsing
    First Lady Patricia Nixon at the Zoo on April 20, 1972, for the official welcome ceremony for giant pandas Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing, a gift from China to the American people. The panda pair first arrived at the Zoo on Sunday, April 16, 1972. Photo courtesy of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library

Included below are comprehensive resources for media on the 50th anniversary of the Giant Panda Program at the Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute.

For media inquiries, including to be added to our media list, email ZooSCBIcommunications@si.edu.

About the Giant Panda Program

Select Press Releases

Visit the news release archive to search for other press releases on the giant panda program.

Giant Panda 50th Anniversary Announcement

Giant Panda Cooperative Research and Breeding Agreement Press Releases

The Zoo entered into its first Giant Panda Cooperative Research and Breeding Agreement with the China Wildlife Conservation Association (CWCA) in December 2000 when giant pandas Mei Xiang (female) and Tian Tian (male) arrived at the Zoo. The initial agreement between the Zoo and CWCA was a 10-year agreement and has been renewed three times since 2010.

Giant Panda Cub Births

Giant Panda Departures for China

First Ladies of United States and China Name Giant Panda Cub at the Zoo

B-roll

Media (news) outlets may use giant panda photos/videos for news purposes only with credit to Smithsonian’s National Zoo. Approved purposes include: print/online articles, broadcast reports and social media feeds. Below is a YouTube playlist of giant panda video content.

The following footage is courtesy of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library:

Giant Panda Family

Giant Panda Family at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo 

Mei Xiang

  • Adult female
  • Name means “beautiful fragrance” 
  • Born July 22, 1998 
  • Arrived at Smithsonian’s National Zoo Dec. 6, 2000, on load from China 
  • Weight as of March 2022: 246.4 pounds (112 kilograms)  
  • She has given birth to four cubs: male Tai Shan, female Bao Bao, male Bei Bei and male Xiao Qi Ji. See below for more information on each cub. 
  • With the birth of her most recent cub (Xiao Qi Ji) at 22 years old, Mei Xiang is the oldest giant panda to give birth in the United States and the second oldest documented in the world. This is also the first time a Zoo in the United States has experienced a successful pregnancy and birth via artificial insemination using only frozen semen.

Tian Tian 

  • Adult male
  • Name means “more and more” 
  • Born Aug. 27, 1997 
  • Arrived at Smithsonian’s National Zoo Dec. 6, 2000, on load from China 
  • Weight as of March 2022: 271.92 pounds (123.6 kilograms) 
  • He has sired four cubs: male Tai Shan, female Bao Bao, male Bei Bei and male Xiao Qi Ji. See below for more information on each cub.

Xiao Qi Ji 

  • Male cub
  • Name means “Little Miracle” 
  • Born Aug. 21, 2020, at Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C. 
  • Weight as of March 2022: 117.48 pounds (53.4 kilograms)

Giant Pandas Born at the Zoo Now Living in China 

Tai Shan

  • Adult male
  • Name means “peaceful mountain”  
  • Born July 9, 2005, at Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C. 
  • Departed for China Feb. 4, 2010 
  • Currently lives at the Wolong Giant Panda Reserve (Shenshuping Panda Base) in Sichuan, China.  
  • He has sired one cub, an unnamed male born Aug. 19, 2020.

Bao Bao

  • Adult female
  • Name means “precious treasure”  
  • Born Aug. 23, 2013, at Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C. 
  • Departed for China Feb. 21, 2017 
  • Currently lives at the Wolong Giant Panda Reserve (Shenshuping Panda Base) in Sichuan, China. 
  • She has given birth to three cubs—a female born Jul. 29, 2020 and twin males born Aug. 4, 2021.

Bei Bei  

  • Adult male
  • Name means “precious, treasure”  
  • Born Aug. 22, 2015, at Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C. 
  • Departed Nov. 19, 2019 
  • Currently lives at BiFengXia Panda Base in Ya’an, China.

Download the giant panda family tree.

Panda Products

Photo/Video Use

Media (news) outlets may use the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute’s giant panda cub photos/videos for news purposes only with credit to Smithsonian’s National Zoo. Approved purposes include: print/online articles, broadcast reports and social media feeds.
Filmmakers that wish to use giant panda cub photos/videos in a documentary must receive approval from the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute and the Smithsonian Film Committee. There may be a licensing fee associated with this request. Fill out the Filming Request Form here.
The Smithsonian’s National Zoo’s Giant Panda Cam may not be streamed live on any non-Smithsonian website or social media platform. The Giant Panda Cam is copywritten to the Smithsonian Institution and does not fall under the Smithsonian’s Open Access policy. Media/Individuals that intend to share the Giant Panda Cam with their audiences must direct them to nationalzoo.si.edu with credit to Smithsonian’s National Zoo.

Download Photos

Below are high-resolution photos available to download for media purposes. They are listed in reverse chronological order. For individual photo captions, see slideshow at the top of the page.