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Remarks by Consul General Zhang Ping at the San Diego Zoo Giant Panda Program Ceremony
(April 6, 2019)

It is with great pleasure that my wife and I together with my consulate colleagues come to visit the San Diego Zoo and join our distinguished guests and friends to witness the successful conclusion of the giant panda research and conservation program jointly implemented by the San Diego Zoo and its Chinese partners, the China Wildlife Conservation Association and the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda.

Giant pandas are the “national treasures” of China. They are the endangered rare species of wildlife that are very much liked and beloved by the people worldwide. They are the envoys of friendship who convey the good will of the Chinese people.

The San Diego Zoo giant panda program is the first joint research program established between China and the US as early as in 1994. Like other joint giant panda research and conservation programs in the US, this program has not only promoted the friendship and understanding between the Chinese and American people, but also pushed forward the bilateral collaboration and joint research on protection and conservation of endangered species of wildlife and biodiversity.

Since the arrival of Bai Yun and her male partner Shi Shi, who was later replaced by Gao Gao, the panda couple have produced 6 cubs over the last two decades, including the youngest one, Xiao Liwu. With the birth of Xiao Liwu in 2012, Bai Yun has became the second oldest panda on record to give birth of baby panda, earning her the reputation of the most productive panda mom in zoos overseas.

Over the last twenty more years, zoologists of both countries have maintained close collaboration and frequent academic exchanges. With the joint efforts, they have achieved a great deal of important scientific results on panda research and conservation. The program has become one of the most successful one among the international giant panda joint research programs.

I would like to express profound appreciation to San Diego Zoo for its participation in the global effort to preserve the giant pandas. You have done a magnificent job in taking good care of Bai Yun and her family. What you have done in the past 23 years has played an important role in helping this rare species to get out of the endangered situation and continue to thrive, contributing greatly to the cause of giant panda conservation.

Next month, Bai Yun and her cub Xiao Liwu will embark on a journey back home. I understand for many people who have got tremendous joy from such adorable, amazingly cute creatures over the past two decades, it is difficult to say goodbye. For Bai Yun and Xiao Liwu, I guess they also have a fond memory of their happy life here in this place. However, in the interests of development of their own species, it is the time for them to go back to join their bigger family and their peers. We wish them a safe and pleasant trip back home.

I wish to thank our American friends for your love and care of the giant panda and for your great support to the cause of giant panda conservation. I wish to assure our friends that after returning, Bai Yun and Xiao Liwu will enjoy the same happy and healthy life as they have enjoyed here. They will continue to be taken good care of and will manage to get adept to new living environment very soon.

We welcome you to visit China more often to see how Bai Yun and Xiao Liwu’s will do in their new habitat. We believe with the support of our people in both countries, China-US cooperation on giant panda research and conservation will bear more fruits and embrace a brighter future and the friendship between the Chinese and American people will last forever.

Thank you.

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