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Photos: Pandas Mei Xiang and Tian Tian to Remain at National Zoo


January 20, 2011

Secretary of the Department of the Interior Ken Salazar joined Chinese officials at the Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park today, to announce that two giant pandas, Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, will remain at the zoo under a new agreement to support breeding, research and conservation efforts by the two countries.


  • Mei Xiang and Tian Tian will remain at the  Smithsonian's National Zoological Park under a new agreement to support breeding, research and conservation efforts by the United States and China. Photo by Tami Heilemann-DOI
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  • Secretary Salazar observes one of the  pandas. Photo by Tami Heilemann-DOI
    Secretary Salazar and a panda.
  • Don Moore, Associate Director of Animal Care for the National Zoo, and Secretary Salazar watch the pandas. Photo by Tami Heilemann-DOI
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  • “We are committed to supporting China’s efforts to conserve wild pandas and their habitats, as well as China’s intent to shift captive-breeding efforts toward the reintroduction of giant pandas into the wild,”  Secretary Salazar said. Photo by Tami Heilemann-DOI
    Secretary Salazar and a panda.
  • Mei Xiang and Tian Tian have lived at the National Zoo since Dec 6, 2000. Both pandas were born at the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda in Wolong and had parents that were wild-born. Photo by Tami Heilemann-DOI
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  • “The loan of giant pandas to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo has long symbolized the close partnership the United States has with China as we work together to conserve and recover one of the world’s most endangered species in the wild,” Secretary Salazar said. Photo by Tami Heilemann-DOI
    Secretary Salazar
  • The Secretary enjoys a light moment with a child and a toy panda. Photo by Tami Heilemann-DOI
    Secretary Salazar and young child.
  • Mei Xiang, whose name means “beautiful fragrance,” will turn 13 on July 22 and Tian Tian, whose name means “more and more,” will turn 14 on Aug. 27. Photo by Tami Heilemann-DOI
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  • Mary Kaye Huntsman (wife of U.S. Ambassador to China, Jon Huntsman, Jr.), Secretary Salazar, Dennis Kelly (Director of the National Zoo) and Zang Chunlin (Secretary Generalof the China Wildlife Conservation Association) observe the panda habitat. Photo by Tami Heilemann-DOI
    Secretary Salazar and others look in panda gate.
  • Mei Xiang and Tian Tian have not produced a cub since 2005, when Tai Shan, a male, was born. Tai Shan was sent to China in February, 2010, per the terms of the previous agreement. If the zoo successfully produces a cub, the offspring will be allowed to stay at the zoo until the age of four. Photo by Tami Heilemann-DOI
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  • “I am proud that this agreement not only ensures that visitors to the zoo will continue to be able to visit and learn about these beautiful animals, but also provides a strong platform for improving the conservation of wild pandas and their habitat in China. The agreement is a reminder that a love for our planet’s land and wildlife is shared across boundaries and brings people together around the world,” Secretary Salazar said. Photo by Tami Heilemann-DOI
    Secretary Salazar
  • Secretary General Zang Chunlin of the China Wildlife Conservation Association and Dennis Kelly, Director of the National Zoo, sign the agreement which keeps Mei Xiang and Tian Tian in the U.S. for an additional five years. Also pictured: Ambassador Chen Naiqing, wife of Chinese Ambassador Zhang Yan, Mary Kaye Huntsman, wife of U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman Jr., and Secretary Salazar Photo by Tami Heilemann-DOI
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  • “We are happy to announce that for now, we will keep our beloved Mei Xiang and Tian Tian at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo,”  National Zoo Director Dennis Kelly said. “With only about 1,600 individuals now found in the wild, giant pandas are among the most endangered animals on earth so it is a great privilege and responsibility to have two animals in our care." Photo by Tami Heilemann-DOI
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  • Secretary Salazar and a panda.
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  • Secretary Salazar and a panda.
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  • Secretary Salazar
  • Secretary Salazar and young child.
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  • Secretary Salazar and others look in panda gate.
  • panda
  • Secretary Salazar
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