National Zoo In D.C. Getting Two Giant Pandas

A pair of giant pandas are heading to the nation’s capital.

According to their announcement on TODAY, The Smithsonian Institute says Bao Li and Qing Bao will arrive at the National Zoo later this year.

“We’re so excited that we’re able to have a cub that is coming from the Mei Xiang and Tian Tian family line,” National Zoo panda keeper Mariel Lally said on TODAY.

“We’re thrilled to announce the next chapter of our breeding and conservation partnership begins by welcoming two new bears, including a descendent of our beloved panda family, to Washington, D.C.,” Brandie Smith, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute’s John and Adrienne Mars director, said in a press release.

Pandas have become increasingly rare in U.S. zoos as many are returned to China. 

Currently, only three remain, at the Atlanta Zoo – and are set to return to China in the fall. China has shared pandas with the U.S. since the 1970s as a show of friendship dubbed ‘panda diplomacy’.