Panda is loved around the world, but this peaceful, bamboo-eating member of the bear family faces many threats. According to China Daily, Officials from China and the United States on Thursday signed a new agreement to support panda breeding, research and conservation efforts by the two countries.
According to the agreement both countries singed, about a pair of giant pandas – named Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, will remain at the National Zoo in Washington D.C. for five more years. On behalf of the Chinese embassy, Ambassador Zhang, expressed appreciation to the National Zoo for taking care of these giant pandas and to all American people for their love shown the pandas.
Zhang also said “the friendship between our people keeps us warm, I am confident that through joint efforts, our cooperation will grow, our friendship will deepen, and the future will be even brighter”, China Daily reported.
According to the report, the first two years of the new agreement, effective immediately through Dec 5, 2015, include a cooperative study involving reproductive experts from the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda in Wolong and the Smithsonian’s Conservation Biology Institute to oversee the breeding of Mei Xiang and Tian Tian.
Panda’s population is small and isolated as its traditional forest habitat in southwest China’s mountainous areas becomes fragmented. The Chinese government has set up more than 30 reserves, but habitat destruction and poaching continues to pose a threat to pandas living outside them. With rapid economic development, it is more important than ever to ensure the giant panda’s survival.
Pandas are called Xiong Mao in Chinese, meaning “bear-cat”, because they look like a bear in shape and a cat in face. Pandas actually are members of the bear family. Pandas eat bamboo only, so they have to live in certain places where large amount of bamboo can be found. But pandas in the zoos eat some other things like rice porridge, apples, sweet potatoes and carrots.
Today, there are only one thousand pandas in the wild and mostly in central China. The giant panda is listed as endangered in the World Conservation Union’s (IUCN’s) Red List of Threatened Animals. It is one of the most critically endangered species in the world. There are about 1,000 left in the wild. About 140 pandas live in zoos and breeding centers around the world, mostly in China.
US Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said that this agreement not only ensures that visitors to the zoo will continue to be able to visit and learn about these beautiful animals, according to the report. She also mentioned that this agreement will provide a strong platform for improving the conservation of wild pandas and their habitat in China.