China Daily recently released its serial video My China Album — 50th Anniversary of Giant Panda in America, a project co-produced by China Daily and the Chinese embassy in the US to celebrate the jubilee of the pandas’ arrival in the US.
My China Album also highlights the five-decade-long collaboration between experts in China and the US to protect and conserve this precious species.
Currently, the National Zoo and two other zoos in the US are hosting pandas — Zoo Atlanta in Georgia and the Memphis Zoo in Tennessee. In 2019, pandas at the San Diego Zoo in California were returned to China after a lease expiration.
In 1972, Beijing sent the first pair of giant pandas, Ling Ling and Xing Xing, to the United States just weeks after then-US president Richard Nixon’s historic visit to China.
On April 20 that year, the duo debuted at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington DC and since have risen to be superstars that have won millions of followers.
China Daily reporters visited the US zoos with pandas, interviewed panda program staff, conducted field research and talked to longtime zoo patrons. The video captures the many light-hearted moments pandas have brought to America and details the mutual trust and teamwork of animal scientists, researchers, zookeepers and conservationists in both countries.
The mindset of cooperation and collaboration has transcended national borders and cultural and ideological differences to literally produce miracles. In July 2021, China announced that there are now 1,800 giant pandas living in the wild and confirmed that the bears are no longer considered an endangered species.
“Year by year, giant pandas have become an icon of mutual appreciation and friendship between the two peoples,” China’s Ambassador to the US Qin Gang said at an August “Pandaversary Night” party to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the pandas’ arrival to America. “China and the US can work together, not only in the area of panda conservation, but we can achieve more in other areas to benefit our two peoples and the peoples of the world.”