The Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute have had giant pandas under their care since 1972. Animal care staff and scientists have studied giant panda biology, behavior, breeding, reproduction, and disease. The Zoo team and colleagues have made groundbreaking advances in reproductive science, healthcare, disease treatment, and exponentially increased the understanding of panda behavior, biology, and the mother-cub relationship.
The Zoo entered into its Giant Panda Cooperative Research and Breeding Agreement with the China Wildlife Conservation Association (CWCA) in December 2000 when giant pandas Mei Xiang and Tian Tian arrived at the Zoo. The initial agreement between the Zoo and CWCA was a 10-year agreement that has been renewed three times since 2010. As part of the terms of the agreement, Mei Xiang, Tian Tian and their cub, Xiao Qi Ji, returned to China on November 8, before the end of the agreement on Dec. 7, 2023.
Even without giant panda residents, the Zoo remains committed to continuing its efforts to secure and safeguard a healthy future for giant pandas and their habitat.