Beijing Zoo is renowned for its Panda's and Panda-House. In 1955 the first Giant Panda in any Zoo was presented to the Public at Beijing Zoo. Panda's seemed impossible to breed, but any difficult years later, in 1963, the first succesful breeding of Giant Panda's was also achieved at Beijing Zoo, only later to be joined by the World Wildlife Fund and Chinese Government co-funded breeding station in Wolong, near Chengdu in Sichuan Province.
Beijing's first baby Panda, was named Ming-Ming. She died at age 28 in 1999.
After her many panda baby's would
follow, especially with the advent of artificial insemination in 1978.
Eversince the number of panda-
babies has multiplied and currently
Panda Breeding finally seems to have
become routine. Still endangered in
it's natural habitat, the future of the
Giant Panda, at least in some ways
seems to be ensured for now.
A view of the Main Entrance at the Panda Hall of the Beijing Zoo.
An overview of the Panda Habitat inside Panda Hall at Beijing Zoo. A shy Panda tries to crawl out of the view of enthousiastic spectators.
Schematic Map of Beijing Zoo grounds
- Click Map -
- Mouse over Image -
Panda Hall - Beijing House of Panda's
The current Panda Hall was constructed in 1990 and consists of an outdoors area and an indoors area for the Panda's. The outer area, some 3000 Square meters of rock, sand and other hill-like habitat is only used during warmer weather, during which time the animals have plenty of space to roam in. Panda's generally avoid the infamous Beijing Summer Heat. In winter all Panda's are kept safe, warm and comfortable inside the Panda Hall, only half the size of the outdoors area, where they can be viewed from behind glass by all visitors.
The original Indoor Panda Hall was not
climate controlled but has meanwhile been upgraded to offer a better climate to the Panda's. Apperently, a future new building will have three large outdoor areas and three climate-controlled indoor, day rooms.
During our november 2005 visit it was not yet in operation or not open to the Public. The number of Panda's at being Zoo varies from Time to Time. The exchange of pandas between Beijing and South China's Sichuan Province is a vital part of a programme to help maintain the genetic diversity of the giant panda population in China. Thus Panda's happily travel back and forth by airplane to Chengdu in Sichuan Province, where the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding was developed .
Find the Panda Hall just a short walk inside the historic Main Entrance of Beijing Zoo at No. 131
Giant Panda enjoying a rest on top of a rock inside the habitat of the Hall of Panda's.
Giant Panda drinking during feeding Time at the Beijing Zoo. But then- for panda's it is always feeding time as they seem to continuously chew their staple diet of bamboo. They more or less only pauze to have a nap or to scratch their tummies which can become quite filthy in the indoors.
XizhiMen Wai Dajie'. Entry to the Panda Hall requires an extra ticket for a small fee, to bought on site. Adjacent the Panda's living accomodations is a large Gift Shop, filled with plenty of Panda souvenirs and gifts for your friends at home.
The Giant Panda
The word "panda" in Chinese literally means "bear cat" because it is mild and looks like a bear. A Panda is a Bear that normally weights up to 140 kg and is about 4.5 to 5 feet long. Male adult Panda's are just about 1.5 meters tall, and females are usually smaller
in size and weigh slightly less. Panda's are different because they have a peculiar 6Th finger on their front paws. This extra finger enables them to easily grasp the bamboo which is their main diet and strip off the leaves to snack on. In the wild the Panda diet is for 98% made up of Bamboo of which it mainly prefers only 2 kinds. Other Panda foods include small insects, egss, roots, berries and sometimes when they feel like it, small rodents.
Giant pandas live in humid and
dense bamboo groves in
mountainous areas at altitudes
ranging from 2000 to 4000 meters.
Ambassador Panda - Panda's and the Chinese State
As friendly ambassadors, 23 giant pandas were sent as state gifts to nine countries from 1953 to 1982. In 1957 the first internationally traveling Panda was given to the Soviet Union as a friendship token. The
list further included North-Korea (DPRK), Japan, Britian (London Zoo), France (Paris), Mexico (City), Germany (Berlin Zoo) and Spain (Madrid), who all received the lovable Panda's with open arms. More Panda's followed later as an international breeding program was developed.
In the Program the China Wildlife Conservation Association (CWCA) and China Zoological Association loan giant pandas in pairs to overseas countries for 10 years for cooperative research with Chinese scientists. These pandas and their offspring, meanwhile, remain the property of China during the loan period. In the process scientific knowledge is dispersed, funding and manpower shared and more.
( International law states that pandas can only be exported as loans and can only be given as gifts domestically within the provinces ).
Today, through the program, many Panda's are on loan to international zoo's and breeding stations.
The first Panda's-on-Loan were sent to Kobe (Oji Zoo) in Japan in 1994. In 1995 it was the turn of
Seoul in South Korea, and the worldfamous and state of the art San Diego Zoo followed suit in 1996.
In 1999 Atlanta, another city in the United States was proud and happy to receive Panda's from
China. In December 2000, a further 2 giant pandas, Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, arrived at the Washington
(Smithsonian) National Zoo, a clear signal of the ever improving ties of China and the United States of America. Later more Babies were flown to Washington by FedEx (on a flight dubbed "Panda One" for
the joyful occassion) to participate in a breeding program and to be shown off the the world public. In 2006 Panda's were about to be sent to Taiwan as gift, however, continous international political
bickering turned the Panda's, sneeringly dubbed Trojan Panda's by some, into unwanted citizens. Naturally, the Panda's have resented this negative attitude and have so far have stayed home. Regardless of this incident, the Panda's of China and their tiny babies are loved by the world and form
a worldwide well-known icon for the country. Still near extinct, panda's now populate the continents ! The chinese and their state are proud and grateful of their service.
The Giant Panda featured as an Icon for China on Pin from DrBen's personal Collection.
Nature Magazine - Panda's. The Panda Documentary DVD.