San Francisco Zoo Get Giant Pandas from China in Panda Diplomacy Attempt

San Francisco Mayor London Breed is preparing for a challenging re-election campaign by announcing several ambitious new projects, including a soccer stadium to replace an underutilized mall, a college to fill the downtown void, and the addition of vibrant night markets to the city’s otherwise peaceful streets.

Breed has suggested bringing gigantic pandas to the city as a novel way to deal with the problems that have arisen since the Covid outbreak. 

As she negotiated a deal with the China Wildlife Conservation Association to bring pandas to the San Francisco Zoo for the first time, she arrived in China with luggage filled with cute plush toy pandas. 

For a community struck hard by the epidemic, the appearance of these black-and-white “celebrities” might provide much-needed economic respite. 

The experience of securing the pandas last year was quite different. In 2020, a FedEx Boeing 777 called the Panda Express went from the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., to China with two adult pandas and their 3-year-old baby. Amidst escalating tensions with the US, reports started swirling that China was reclaiming its pandas. But plans are in the works to bring two pandas to the San Diego Zoo, maybe as soon as this summer.

After raising more money for a new panda habitat, the San Francisco pandas should come later, ideally in the new year. Engineers from Beijing had already visited the zoo to assess the location. In 1984 and 1985, pandas were on a world tour and stopped in San Francisco as visitors.

The San Francisco Zoo’s activities have recently come under more scrutiny, prompting the statement. While Ms. Breed was in China last week, The San Francisco Chronicle published an investigation into the zoo. The inquiry centered on concerns voiced by several workers over worker safety and animal care.

According to Vitus Leung, deputy director, the San Francisco Zoo and Gardens is subject to frequent inspections by several regulatory agencies and has always complied with all of them. Engineers and panda specialists from China have determined that the San Francisco Zoo is ready to welcome Giant Pandas soon after a thorough evaluation of all regions and departments.