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US capital celebrates: hilight บอล ไทย เว ยดนาม'The pandas are coming!'

Senior official reiterates pledg | hilight บอล ไทย เว ยดนาม | Updated: 2024-07-23 13:27:41

Mike Beglinger, deputy director of planning and program management at Smithsonian's Office of Planning , Design and Construction, introduces an artist's rendering of the new pair of giant pandas near the David M. Rubenstein Family Giant Panda Habitat at the National Zoo on Wednesday. Zhao Huanxin / China Daily

In 1972, when then US first lady Patricia Nixon welcomed the first pair of giant pandas to Washington's National Zoo, Jill Biden was a 20-year-old college student.

In a video posted on Wednesday, Biden, who is now the first lady of the United States, got her chance to welcome the eagerly anticipated arrival of a new pair of pandas.

As she enthusiastically clutched a toy panda that someone threw to her, she exclaimed: "We can't wait to celebrate this historic moment here in our nation's capital. ... It's official. The pandas are coming back to DC."

Joining Biden, the wife of US President Joe Biden, were National Zoo Director Brandie Smith and Smithsonian Institution Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch III. They announced that the two giant pandas are expected to arrive later this year, and joked about preparing for the two special guests at the White House.

Jill Biden wrote in a social media post, "We are excited for children near and far to once again enjoy the giant pandas' adorable and joyful adventures at our @NationalZoo."

The announcement came six months after the US capital bid an emotional farewell to its last three giant pandas, including a pair that arrived 23 years ago. The three pandas left for China in November.

Smith said at the zoo that "we're thrilled to announce that the next chapter of our breeding and conservation partnership begins by welcoming two new bears, including a descendant of our beloved panda family, to Washington, DC".

Early in the morning, workers put up signs on the flagpole at the entrance to the zoo that said "The Pandas Are Coming". There also were fresh displays of panda-themed merchandise, such as shirts and shopping bags, in the souvenir shops inside the zoo.

The warmly anticipated newcomers, Bao Li and Qing Bao, were born in 2021 and will arrive at the Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute by the end of the year, as part of a partnership with the China Wildlife Conservation Association.

The mother of the male bear, Bao Li, whose name means "treasure" and "energetic" in Chinese, was born at the zoo in 2013. The name of the female, Qing Bao, translates as "a treasure in green mountains".

Wednesday's announcement builds on half a century of fruitful collaboration between China and the US to save the giant panda from extinction.

"Giant pandas truly represent how great partnerships and great outcomes can be achieved through when we work together and then with public support," Smith said.

She also said the focus of the new partnership will be different from the areas of study involving the earlier pandas. At that time, knowledge about reproduction was among the priorities.

"But we've solved a lot of those problems, and so with these new pandas, our focus is actually a little bit more on giant pandas in the wild — understanding bamboo forests, wildlife diseases, different things like that," Smith told China Daily.

Noting how people in the US have been fascinated by the black-and-white icons, Theodore H. Reed, Smith's predecessor, wrote in a National Geographic magazine story in 1972: "Whenever I look at our young giant pandas, I think I can explain the animals' universal appeal. The trouble is, everyone else seems to be looking too, instead of listening (to me)."

Xie Feng, Chinese ambassador to the US, said that over the past five decades, giant pandas have held a special place in the childhood memories of numerous Americans.

He said that people in the US will soon get to see pandas more often, as another pair, Yun Chuan and Xin Bao, will head to the San Diego Zoo.

"'Panda huggers' should not be stigmatized. If there should be any protectionism, then let's protect biodiversity, protect the only home for the entire humanity, protect a stable, sound and sustainable China-US relationship, and protect a better future for the younger generations," Xie said.

"I encourage everyone to care for China-US relations just as you care for pandas, and jointly usher in a peaceful and prosperous future," he added.

huanxinzhao@chinadailyusa.com

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