San Francisco Zoo to receive giant pandas from China, Mayor Breed announces

ByABC7 Bay Area Digital Staff WABC logo
Saturday, April 20, 2024
SF Zoo to receive pandas from China, mayor announces
San Francisco will receive giant pandas from China as part of China's Panda Diplomacy program, Mayor London Breed announced Thursday.

SAN FRANCISCO -- For the first time in decades, San Francisco will receive giant pandas from China as part of China's Panda Diplomacy program.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed shared the news on X Thursday night.

Breed is still in China as part of her weeklong visit to bring in new business and tourism to San Francisco, Califronia.

"San Francisco is absolutely thrilled that we will be welcoming Giant Pandas to our San Francisco Zoo," said Mayor London Breed. "We have been working closely with our local API community to advocate for pandas nearly a year ago leading up to APEC in November, and it's an honor that our City has been chosen for the first time to be a long-term home for Giant Pandas. San Francisco is an international destination and the gateway to the Asia Pacific - having pandas here will strengthen our already deep cultural connection and honors our Chinese and API heritage that is core to San Francisco's history. We are ready to welcome visitors from all over the world to our beautiful zoo. This is a momentous opportunity, and one I am grateful for, I know I join so many who can't wait to see them in San Francisco."

The zoo's CEO said she hopes to renovate an existing facility so the pandas can arrive by 2025.

That will cost around $4 million, followed by $20 million for a new exhibit.

The zoo plans to launch a major fundraising effort

Preliminary planning has already begun with collaborative efforts by Beijing Zoo and San Francisco Zoo engineers.

The San Francisco Zoo previously hosted China's giant pandas in 1984 and 1985 as part of a global tour.