Pandas Are Returning to the San Diego Zoo! Meet the 'Gentle' Bears Moving to California

Yun Chuan, one of the pandas moving to the zoo, is the son of Zhen Zhen, a panda born at the San Diego Zoo in 2007

<p>San Diego Zoo</p> Yun Chuan (left) and Xin Bao, the two pandas moving from China to the San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo

Yun Chuan (left) and Xin Bao, the two pandas moving from China to the San Diego Zoo

After saying goodbye to the last of its pandas in 2019, the San Diego Zoo is preparing for the species to return.

The San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance (SDZWA) is working with its conservation partners in China to move two adult panda bears to the Calif. zoo.

In an April 19 release, the SDZWA shared that San Diego Zoo's panada care team members recently flew to China to meet the pandas set to join the zoo. The chosen bears are Yun Chuan, a nearly five-year-old male panda, and Xin Bao, an almost four-year-old female giant panda.

"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," Dr. Megan Owen, vice president of conservation science at SDZWA, said in a statement. "Yun Chuan's lineage has deep connections to the San Diego Zoo, and we're excited by the prospect of caring for them."

<p>San Diego Zoo</p> Yun Chuan the panda

San Diego Zoo

Yun Chuan the panda

Yun Chuan's mother, Zhen Zhen, is responsible for the panda's connection to the San Diego Zoo. Zhen Zhen was born at the San Diego Zoo in 2007 to pandas Bai Yun and Gao Gao and charmed zoo visitors for several years before moving to China.

Related: World's Only All-White Panda Captured on Video in Rare Sighting

Yun Chuan is "mild-mannered, gentle, and lovable," according to SDZWA, which added that Xin Bao is a "gentle and witty introvert."

"Our conservation partners in China shared photographs and personality traits of Yun Chuan and Xin Bao, but meeting them in person was so special. It's inspiring as people from around the world come together to conserve, protect, and care for these special bears, and we can't wait to welcome them to San Diego," Owen said.

<p>San Diego Zoo</p> Xin Bao the panda

San Diego Zoo

Xin Bao the panda

The San Diego Zoo does not have an exact date set for the pandas' arrival, "as San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance is working through the necessary steps with its U.S. and Chinese conservation partners, looking forward to a prospective arrival this summer," SDZWA explained.

Related: National Zoo Pandas Officially Depart for China, Leaving D.C. Zoo With No Pandas for First Time Since 2000

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<p>San Diego Zoo</p> Yun Chuan the panda

San Diego Zoo

Yun Chuan the panda

SDZWA shared photos of Xin Bao and Yun Chuan to tide animal lovers over until the bears make their big move. Zoo officials also used their trip to China as an opportunity to collaborate with China's panda care specialists on care and nutrition programs for pandas in captivity and on research programs to protect wild pandas.

"Our partnership over the decades has served as a powerful example of how, when we work together, we can achieve what was once thought to be impossible," Owen said. "We have a shared goal of creating a sustainable future for giant pandas."

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