Giant Pandas in America Essay
The endangered bears, native to China, continue to evolve in their attempt to survive. However, the bamboo-eaters are more threatened today by population decline caused by human interaction and global climate changes than ever before. In order to save giant pandas, many zoos and organizations have taken on panda projects, both in China and abroad.
Giant pandas are an international symbol of conservation, and the United States has eagerly embraced the need to save this rare and dying species from extinction; pandas have previously resided at 13 zoos across the nation, UT now only four major zoos continue to develop successful programs to increase the panda’s chance of survival. Approximately 1600 wild pandas live in the mountains of southwest China where they are protected from poachers and hunters by the Chinese government. Giant pandas are a national treasure in China and are honored like gods (Pandas).
Chinese leaders have given giant pandas as gifts to other countries since 685 A. D. When pandas were given to Japan as a sign of peace (Gigs 29). However, pandas were not introduced to the western world until March of 1869 when French missionary Armband David sent a panda skeleton and pelt to a museum in Europe (WFM). On April 13, 1929 two pandas, shot by Theodore Roosevelt sons, were sent to Chicago Field Museum where they became the first pandas seen in America. The American public did not believe the “cute, cuddly animals” (WFM) deserved to be on display in museums and instead wanted to see them alive in zoos (Gigs 29-30).
In 1936, the American public got their wish; Ruth Hearkens smuggled panda Us Line out of China and into the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago (WFM). Us Line, the first live panda in the western world, died in 1938 shortly after Me Mel, another smuggled panda, was roughs to America to keep her company. Me Lana arrived in 1939 to keep Me Me company. The Bronx Zoo in New York also acquired four pandas during this time: Pandora in 1938, Pan in 1939, and Pan Dee and Pan Dad in 1941. The Saint Louis Zoo also acquired Happy and Pap Pie both in 1939 (Panda Zoos).
In 1946, China closed its doors and no longer allowed their precious pandas to be subjects of foreign exploitation (WFM). In 1972, nearly 20 years after the last smuggled panda had died, the Chinese government gifted a pair of pandas, Hissing Hissing a male, and Ling Ling a female, to President Richard Nixon. The pair resided at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington D. C. (Gigs 30). After Hissing Hissing did not show interest in mating with Ling Ling, Chic Chic, a panda from the London Zoo, arrived in Washington D. C. In the hope that he would mate with Ling Ling.
Unfortunately, the two pandas fought and Chic Chic was returned to London. In 1988 Chic Chic returned to the United States where he stayed at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens for a short time to raise money for a breeding program at his future home, the Chaplets Zoo in Mexico (Panda Zoos). Hissing Hissing and Ling Ling eventually produced five cubs, none of which revived (Gigs 30). Ling Ling died of natural causes on December 30, 1992, and Hissing Hissing died November 28, 1999, after battling testicular cancer and kidney disease (Panda Loss). Giant pandas can come to America on short-term loans.
Many pandas have come to America from the Beijing Zoo including male Yin Sin and female Yuan Yuan who stayed at the Los Angles Zoo and the San Francisco Zoo in 1984 and 1985 before returning to China. Yuan Yuan returned to America in April of 1987; this time with Ling Ling, a male born at the Beijing Zoo. The two pandas made the Bronx Zoo their home or six months before they were moved to the Busch Gardens Zoo in Tampa, Florida. Ling Ling and Yuan Yuan returned to China in 1988. In the same year, the Memphis Zoo housed female panda Xix Huh. She was loaned to the zoo from the Chaplets Zoo and stayed in the gorilla exhibit.
At the San Diego Zoo, two pandas were received in 1987 on a 200 day loan from the Chinese government to symbolize its long term friendship with the San Diego Zoo. In Ohio, the Toledo Zoo had two pandas on loan in 1988 and the Columbus Zoo opened an exhibit with two pandas, King King and Sin Sin in 1992 (Panda Zoos). The pandas were in Columbus to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Christopher Columbus first voyage to the Americas (Tabbed, Gerald). Aside from being gifted or staying on short term visits, giant pandas can also be loaned for a ten year period of time which is often renewable.
These loans cost $1,000,000 a year and require all panda cubs born in foreign lands to be returned to China (“Giant Pandas”). There are currently forty-four pandas on loan outside of China. The pandas reside at sixteen different zoos in the United States, Scotland, Australia, France, Mexico, Singapore, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Austria, and Spain Hotfoot. In the United States, pandas reside at Smithsonian National Zoo, Zoo Atlanta, Memphis Zoo, and the San Diego Zoo. There are currently 12 pandas in the United States, two of which reside at the National Zoo. They arrived in December 2000 on a ten year $10,000,000 loan.
The loan was extended in 2010 to end in December 201 5 (Panda Loan). Upon arrival in America, the male panda, Titan Titan, was three and the female panda, Me Axing, was two. They were both born at the Hollow Nature Reserve in China (“Meet Me Axing and Titan Titan”). On July 9, 2005 at 3:41 A. M. Titan Titan and Me Gang’s first panda cub was born. The cub was the first successful giant panda birth at the Smithsonian National Zoo. The male cub was named ATA Shank on October 17, following the Chinese tradition to name captive born cubs when they are 100 days hold (FOND V-VII).
On February 4, 2010, ATA Shank was sent to China (“Meet Me Axing and Titan Titan”). On September 16, 2012 at 10:46 P. M. Me Axing gave birth to another panda cub. Tragically, on September 23, the cub died. The necropsy revealed the female cub’s lungs were poorly developed which resulted in liver damage (“2012 Panda Updates”). Zoo Atlanta is presently home to four pandas: Lung Lung, Yang Yang, Xi Lana, and Pop. Female Lung Lung, born in 1997, is very motivated by food and enjoys climbing. She came to Atlanta in 1999 with Yang Yang, a male also born in 1997. His name meaner “little sea” and he is very playful and easy going.
Lung Lung and Yang Yang gave birth to their first offspring on September 6, 2006. The male cub was named Me Lana meaning “Atlanta’s beauty’. Me Lana returned to the Changed Research Base in February 2010. He is now the Earth Hour Ambassador because of his ability to turn Off light. The second cub born in Atlanta arrived on August 30, 2008. Another male, this cub was named Xi Lana meaning “Atlanta’s JOY’. He still lives in Atlanta but will likely return to Canaan In ten near Torture. I nee most recent cud Tort Lung Lung Ana Yang Yang Is Pop. Born November 3, 2010, he enjoys sleeping and eating.
He has recently been weaned from his mother. Rebecca Snyder, Curator of Mammals at Zoo Atlanta has said, “It’s easy to feel nostalgic about Pop and Lung Lung living together, but this [weaning] is a natural and necessary milestone in the life of any young mammal, particularly in a solitary species like giant pandas. ” Now that Lung Lung no longer takes care of Pop, keepers at Zoo Atlanta will encourage her to mate with Yang Yang in March of 2013 in the hope that another baby panda will be born (Meet the Pandas Atlanta). The Memphis Zoo also hopes for a panda pregnancy in 2013.
Yea Yea and Lee Lee, the two pandas at the Memphis Zoo have not had any success breeding since they were welcomed in 2003. Yea Yea, the female panda, was born August 3, 2000 at the Beijing Zoo. Her grandma is Yuan Yuan, a panda that visited multiple zoos in America in the sass. Male Lee Lee was born July 18, 1998 at the Chon King Zoo. He and Yea Yea resided at the Shanghai Zoo before coming to Memphis. (Panda Zoos). In contrast, the San Diego Zoo has one of the most successful panda breeding programs outside of China. The second pair of pandas to reside in San Diego arrived on September 10, 1996.
Female panda ABA Yuan was born at the Hollow Nature Reserve and is curious, unpredictable, and mischievous. The mother of six arrived with Shih Shih, a male panda born in the wild. He and ABA Yuan had one cub, Huh Me meaning “China-USA”. The female cub born August 21, 1999 was the first successful panda born in the United States. She returned to the Hollow Nature Reserve in February 2004. She has had nine cubs in China. Shih Shih returned to China in 2003. He died July 5, 2008 at the Guanos Zoo having lived nearly 35 years. Gao Gao came to San Diego in January of 2003.
He was born in the wild and is rambunctious, inquisitive, and alert. Mel-sheen (meaning “Born in the U. S. A. ) was ABA Yuan’s first cub with Gao Gao. The sweet and playful panda returned to China in November 2007. The third panda cub, Us Line, arrived on August 2, 2005. She returned to the Hollow Nature Reserve in September 2010 where she has given birth to one cub. The fourth panda cub was also a female. Zen Zen was born August 3, 2007 and moved to China at the same time as her sister, Us Line. Yuan Uzi was born August 5, 2009 at the San Diego Zoo where he currently resides.
He is expected to be a very large panda; at age three, he is already heavier than his father, Gao Gao. (Pandas are full grown between ages four and seven (Pandas). ) The most recent cub born at the San Diego Zoo was Ixia Lieu. “Little Gift” was born July 29, 2012. He was recently put on display and the public loves watching him (Meet the Pandas San Diego). As with Ixia Lieu, the American public has enjoyed the numerous pandas that have come to America since 1936. These animals have strengthened ties with China and other countries around the world.
The success of breeding programs in the United Sates has helped to restore the panda population and also brought awareness for the need to save the wonderful species. The United States has fallen in love with the cute and cuddly giants and has eagerly embraced the challenge to save them. With the help of the United States, pandas may one day be taken off the endangered species list and be more enjoyed by panda fans everywhere.