SAN DIEGO, California -- The San Diego Zoo says it is going to miss the popular giant pandas, as they get ready to leave California for China.
But the fact that the pandas are leaving is a reflection of the progress the species has made over the years, KGTV reports.
Carmi Penny, Director of Collections, Husbandry Science explains: "Our agreement with the Chinese came to a conclusion, like with all good things sometimes they come to an end or an intermission"
Six-year-old panda Xiao Liwu was born in the San Diego Zoo, and his 27-year-old mother, Bai Yun was brought over from China more than two decades ago.
When they first teamed up with the Chinese 25 years ago, the species was expected to go extinct.
Their status has since been downgraded from endangered to vulnerable, meaning the zoo accomplished what it set out to do.
"We're going to be sad, they're going to be sad, we understand sad for our to staff to come and not have pandas here, but we want people to come celebrate pandas and what we've been able to do for the pandas."
Shawn Dixon, Chief Operating Officer of San Diego Zoo Global, says they will leave the exhibit for now, but they're hoping to bring new pandas to San Diego, and are in talks now with the Chinese to try and make it happen.
"But it has to be, how do we help conservation? How do we help conservation, how do we help the species?"
In the meantime, they'll celebrate the pandas and years of hard work keeping the species alive.
The final day to see Bai Yun and Xiao Liwu will be April 27, but zoo officials said there will be events to celebrate the pandas in the preceding weeks.