The San Diego Zoo is getting ready to say goodbye to its two giant pandas.
Bai Yun and her son, Xiao Liwu, will be returning to China in April as part of the zoo’s conservation loan agreement with the People’s Republic of China.
The zoo says when it first started its panda program, the species was on the verge of extinction.
“Thanks to the work we’ve done, we have met the initial conservation goals we set more than 25 years ago,” said Carmi Penny, director of Collections Husbandry Science at the San Diego Zoo. “Now, we must look to the future with a new set of objectives-and, along with our collaborators in China, we want to build on our current conservation successes while attaining a deeper understanding of the panda.”
The zoo says the awareness it’s helped create along with the knowledge scientists received through Bai Yun’s pregnancies have helped boost the wild giant panda population in China to more than 2,000.
Zoo visitors will be able to see Bai Yun and Xiao Liwu until April 27, and plans are in the works for a big celebration.