Who doesn’t like panda’s? They’re adorable! In 1972 two giant pandas, Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing, were given to the United States as gifts of the Chinese government following then President Richard Nixon’s historic trip to China. They arrived at the National Zoo in Washington, DC on April 16, 1972.
Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing, 1985|
In return, our government gave the Chinese two musk oxen. We definitely got the better end of the deal.
During their time at the zoo, the two pandas had five cubs but none survived more than a few days. Alas, Ling-Ling died in 1992 at the age of 23, and Hsing-Hsing followed in 1999 at the age of 28.
Since then, the National Zoo has been home to other giant pandas. A year ago today saw the birth of Bei Bei, one of a pair of twins born to Mei Xiang. His father is Tian Tian. Unfortunately, Bei Bei’s twin only survived for four days. Bei Bei, however, has thrived and hopefully will have a long, happy life. Happy birthday, Bei Bei!