Mark Robertson

Mark Robertson

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Why soon Atlanta may be the only place in the US to see a panda

Soon only four giant pandas will remain in the entire United States: the two adults and two cubs at Zoo Atlanta. And even then that may change since the Chinese government ready to take them back. 

Every giant panda in the US is on loan from the Chinese government. At every zoo in the country - except Atlanta’s - that loan will expire in December. The two babies, Ya Lun and Xi Lun, and the two adults, Lun Lun and Yang Yang, at Zoo Atlanta are expected to remain but head back sometime in 2024.

Zoo Atlanta said they were expecting to send the babies back, but with no new agreement, Lun Lun and Yang Yang have to go too. 

"The terms of Zoo Atlanta’s giant panda loan with China have always included the stipulation that per the terms of the loan agreement, all offspring of Lun Lun and Yang Yang travel to China when they are of age," said Rachel Davis, a spokesperson for Zoo Atlanta in a written statement. "All five of Ya Lun’s and Xi Lun’s older siblings now live in China, and they are also expected to travel to China in 2024."

Zoo Atlanta said it plans to coordinate with China on the pandas’ travel arrangements, however, they don’t have any specifics on when exactly in 2024 they’ll depart.

Below is more information plus a link to the live 24-hour Panda cam at the zoo.


Photo: STEVE SCHAEFER / AFP / Getty Images

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