Giraffes at the Safari Park
April 29, 2024

San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance

Public Relations


San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance Leaders Visit China; Meet Giant Panda Pair To Be Cared For By San Diego Zoo

SAN DIEGO (April 29, 2024) – San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance conservation and care team leaders recently visited China and met Yun Chuan (pronounced yoon chu-an) and Xin Bao (pronounced sing bao) the two giant pandas to be cared for by San Diego Zoo.

“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,” said Dr. Megan Owen, vice president of conservation science at San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. “Yun Chuan’s lineage has deep connections to the San Diego Zoo and we’re excited by the prospect of caring for them.”

Yun Chuan is a nearly five-year-old male panda. He is described as mild-mannered, gentle and lovable. His mother, Zhen Zhen (pronounced jen jen), was born at San Diego Zoo in 2007 to parents Bai Yun (pronounced bye yoon) and Gao Gao (pronounced gow gow). The first character of his name, “Yun,” is a nod to his grandmother Bai Yun, who thrived at San Diego Zoo for 23 years. The second character of his name, “Chuan,” refers to the province of Sichuan where he hails from Wolong Shenshuping Panda Base.  

Xin Bao is a nearly four-year-old female giant panda who was born in Wolong Shenshuping Panda Base. She is described as a gentle and witty introvert with a sweet round face and big ears. Her name means a “new treasure of prosperity and abundance.”

“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,” said Owen.  

San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance leaders were in China meeting with conservation partners from China Wildlife Conservation Association on prospective research programs to protect and conserve giant pandas and their habitat. They also met with giant panda care specialists to discuss and collaborate on specialized care and nutrition programs for pandas.

The date of Yun Chuan and Xin Bao’s exact arrival in San Diego is not yet known, 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.

San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance has a nearly 30-year conservation partnership with leading conservation institutions in China focused on protecting and recovering giant pandas and the bamboo forests they depend on. These include critical findings on giant panda reproductive behavior and physiology, nutritional requirements, habitat needs and genetic research among other areas of focus. The efforts include developing a giant panda milk formula and, with our partners, other neonatal conservation techniques that dramatically increased survival rates for nursery-reared cubs from 5% to 95%, the first successful artificial insemination of a giant panda outside of China and contributing valuable expertise to efforts led by Chinese scientists to track wild giant pandas at the Foping National Nature Reserve using GPS technology. These collaborative efforts contributed to the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List downgrading the giant panda from Endangered to Vulnerable in 2021.

Although the conservation status of the giant panda is improving, there is still much work needed to ensure they remain on the path to recovery with healthy populations and flourishing ecosystems. The conservation collaboration between San Diego Zoo Wildlife Association and China Wildlife Conservation Association aims to improve giant panda population health and resilience in some of the smallest and most isolated populations vulnerable to extinction and loss of genetic diversity.

“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,” said Owen. “We have a shared goal of creating a sustainable future for giant pandas.”


About San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance
San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, a nonprofit conservation leader, inspires passion for nature and collaboration for a healthier world. The Alliance supports innovative conservation science through global partnerships. Through wildlife care, science expertise and collaboration, more than 44 endangered species have been reintroduced to native habitats. Annually, the Alliance reaches over 1 billion people, in person at the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and virtually in 150 countries through media channels, including San Diego Zoo Wildlife Explorers television programming in children’s hospitals in 14 countries. Wildlife Allies—members, donors and guests—make success possible. 

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Link includes:

  • Photos and video of Yun Chuan (pronounced yoon chu-an) and Xin Bao (pronounced sing bao)—the two giant pandas to be cared for by San Diego Zoo