Find Out When the Pandas are Coming Back to San Diego Zoo

Get ready to meet the San Diego Zoo's cutest & fluffiest additions. Yes, it's true! The giant pandas from China are returning soon to the San Diego Zoo!
Amanda Rosa
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Pandas are Coming Back to San Diego Zoo!
It's Yun Chuan & Xin Bao!
Who Are the Giant Pandas?
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What’s Black and White and Coming to San Diego? Yun Chuan and Xin Bao!

Research Outpost at the San Diego ZooDouble Decker Bus at the San Diego Zoo

Panda fans rejoice! It’s official - the giant pandas are returning to the San Diego Zoo!

After months of collaboration between the San Diego Zoo and the China Wildlife Conservation Association, the pandas are making their return. For the first time since 2019, guests will see the magnificent and distinctive black and white bears in person.

These beloved creatures are the first pandas in over two decades to come to our shores, making this partnership between China and the United States extra special.

Kids Reading Zoo Map at the San Diego Zoo
Kids Reading Zoo Map at the San Diego Zoo

Pandas & The San Diego Zoo: A Brief History

The first giant pandas arrived at the zoo in 1987, where they stayed for 100 days.

It took several further years before both the zoo and China could agree upon a longer research stay for the bears.

In 1996, Bai Yun and Shi Shi arrived at the zoo and moved into the brand new habitat, the Giant Panda Research Station, created just for them.

The panda’s stay was renewed in 2008 for an extra 5 years and renewed once again in 2013, with the loan ending officially in 2019.

As part of the zoo’s agreement with China, all 6 of the baby pandas born at the zoo returned to China along with Bai Yun. Including Bai Yun’s 6th cub, Xiao Liwu, born at the zoo on July 29, 2012.

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Official Arrival Date
While a specific date hasn't been set yet, the collaboration between the zoo and the China Wildlife Conservation Association aims for a summer arrival. Stay tuned for announcements!

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Who Are the Giant Pandas?

Panda Shop at the San Diego Zoo
Panda Shop at the San Diego Zoo

Members of the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance conservation and care team met our Chinese conservation partners at the Wolong and Bifengxia Panda Bases.

They had previously seen photos of Xin Bao and Yun Chaun and this was a chance for them to meet the giant pandas in person.

This special visit also allowed the team a chance to collaborate with the giant panda care specialists to create a nutritional and specialized care program for Yun Chaun and Xin Bao.

Meet Xin Bao!

Pronounced Sing Bao, Xin Bao is a 4-year-old female panda. Her name means “new treasure of prosperity and abundance” and according to her caretakers, the name is spot on.

They describe her as “a gentle and witty introvert with a sweet round face and big ears.”

Xin Bao was born at the Wolong Shenshuping Panda Base in Sichuan province.

Meet Yun Chuan!

Pronounced Yoon Chu-an, giant panda Yun Chuan has a direct connection to the San Diego Zoo!

His grandmother is none other than Bai Yun!

Yun Chuan’s mother, Zhen Zhen (Jen Jen) was born to Bai Yun and Gao Gao at the zoo in 2007.

Yun Chuan’s caretakers describe him as a nearly 5-year-old panda that’s “mild-mannered, gentle and lovable.”

What’s Behind a Name?

As the saying goes, “What’s in a name?”

“Yun” heralds back to his grandmother, while “Chaun” refers to his home in the province of Sichuan, the Wolong Shenshuping Panda Base.

It’s a special name that highlights the special relationship between our two countries and our mutual conservation efforts to ensure the survival of the giant pandas.

As Dr. Megan Owen, the vice president of conservation science at San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, said, “It was an honor to see Yun Chuan and Xin Bao in person and meet our conservation partners caring for them at the Wolong and Bifengxia Panda Bases.

Yun Chuan’s lineage has deep connections to the San Diego Zoo and we’re excited by the prospect of caring for them.”

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An Ongoing Conservation Partnership

Koala Bears at the San Diego Zoo
Koala Bears at the San Diego Zoo

If it takes a village to raise a child, then surely it takes an international community to raise a panda cub.

While these bears now rarely face their natural predators - the weasel, tiger, and leopard - in the wild, it’s important that the public is educated so that we as people can make sure that our decisions don’t negatively impact the survival of this vital species.

Their diminishing habit, low reproduction rates, and bamboo shortages have brought people around the world together to save the panda. And bringing the giant pandas to the San Diego Zoo will help further inform the young and old on what we can all do, or not do to our environment, to help.

The conservation partnership between the zoo and the China Wildlife Conservation Association continues the work begun 28 years ago to research, protect, and conserve both the giant pandas and their habitats.

Their combined efforts have allowed the panda to go from being listed as an endangered species to its current designation of vulnerable.

What’s Next: Future Plans & Getting to See the Pandas

Xin Bao and Yun Chuan will be here before you know it! Let’s make sure you’re prepared for your trip!

Shopping at the Panda Shop at the San Diego Zoo
Shopping at the Panda Shop at the San Diego Zoo

When Do the Giant Pandas Arrive?

While an official date has yet to be selected, both countries are working together for a summer arrival.

We will let you know once an official date has been set so you can plan your visit.

Think something like: What’s Black and White and Wearing Sunglasses? The giant pandas - once they arrive in sunny San Diego!

You Can Get on and off the Guided Bus Tour Whenever You Like
You Can Get on and off the Guided Bus Tour Whenever You Like

How to Visit the San Diego Zoo?

Securing passes to see the pandas is easier than you think! Explore the San Diego Zoo and do more in the San Diego area.

The Go City San Diego pass saves you time, energy, and money.

No extra fees at the gate, no waiting in line to buy a ticket, just show your pass and enjoy access to over 4,000 animals and, of course, Yun Chaun and Xin Bao.

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Who’s saving time and money? You are!

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The Lafayette Hotel in University Heights, San Diego

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