Contributing Monkie G Living Staff Monkies
Published on March 12, 2010
Pack your bags, Mei Sheng, you’re going to China. Mei Sheng, a four-year-old panda, born and raised at the San Diego Zoo, is moving to China to take part in China’s breeding program. Mei Sheng will be staying at the Wolong Nature Reserve for Giant Pandas. A loan agreement exists between the U.S. and China which states that all foreign born pandas return to China when they mature.
For Ron Swaisgood of the S.D.Z.’s Giant Panda Conservation, the departure of Mei Sheng was bittersweet. Swaisgood stated, “Mei Sheng will be missed…but his role in the conservation of his species involves a move to China.”
Swaisgood also elaborated to the San Diego Union-Tribune on how crucially endangered the pandas are: “As a critically endangered species, it is vital that Mei Sheng is in a place where he will be around other pandas, and the Wolong Reservation is a great home.”
Pandas are critically endangered. Only 1,600 are thought to survive in the wild and a mere 180 live in captivity. Mei Sheng is the second of two pandas born in the U.S. to be brought back to China. The first was Hua Mei, also born at the San Diego Zoo, who has since then given birth to three panda cubs at the Wolong Reservation.
We wish the same for Mei Sheng.