xi's moments
Home | Americas

San Diego Zoo embodies spirit of cooperation

By RENA LI in Los Angeles | China Daily Global | Updated: 2024-02-21 09:49

A man hangs dragon-themed decorations at a special event celebrating the Chinese New Year at San Diego Zoo Safari Park in Escondido, California, on Saturday. ZENG HUI/XINHUA

Red envelopes, red lanterns, wishing trees, golden dragons and giant pandas — the cherished symbols of Chinese culture — provided joy and excitement at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park during the Chinese New Year celebrations over the weekend.

As visitors reveled in the festivities, they also immersed themselves in the vibrant traditions of the Spring Festival.

Students, parents and teachers from the Third Street Elementary School in Los Angeles, or TSESLA, wrote their good wishes in front of the wishing tree. A dragon symbolizing power, good fortune and strength was crafted through paper-cutting.

"It's such an exciting opportunity for our children to experience Chinese New Year culture, as for many of them, it's their first time celebrating the Spring Festival. It's a wonderful way to connect them to the diverse world we discuss in the classroom," Helen Lee, assistant principal at TSESLA, told China Daily.

When Chinese Consul General in Los Angeles Guo Shaochun, along with Paul Baribault, president and CEO of the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, or SDZWA, presented children with red envelopes and plush toys of golden dragons and pandas as a token of appreciation, the park echoed with the laughter of visitors.

The San Diego Zoo and its safari park have embraced the tradition of celebrating the Chinese New Year for several years, stemming from almost three decades of collaboration between the SDZWA and China.

"We share nearly 30 years of collaboration with our Chinese conservation partners. And together, we've helped transform the future of wildlife," said Baribault. "These moments in conservation are a reminder that together we can make the 'impossible' possible for wildlife for people on the planet we share."

Guo, who said that the annual celebration was the first event he attended last February upon taking office, recognized that the San Diego Zoo serves as "not only an active participant in cultural exchange, but also a pioneer in wildlife conservation cooperation".

Significant breakthroughs

"It is the first American zoo to conduct giant panda conservation cooperation with China. The San Diego Zoo made significant breakthroughs in improving the survival rate of panda cubs and successfully bred six panda cubs," Guo said.

The San Diego Zoo initiated the first giant panda conservation project in the US in collaboration with China in 1996, when giant pandas Bai Yun and Shi Shi arrived from China. Male giant panda Gao Gao succeeded Shi Shi in 2003.

Since 1999, six giant panda cubs — Hua Mei, Mei Sheng, Su Lin, Zhen Zhen, Yun Zi and Xiao Liwu — have been born.

In 2019, the last two giant pandas, Bai Yun and Xiao Liwu, who once stole the spotlight at the zoo, returned to their ancestral home in China, leaving behind a legacy of conservation and shared commitment. Even today, their endearing panda videos continue to be highly popular on the San Diego Zoo's website.

Megan Owen, vice-president of Wildlife Conservation Science at SDZWA, who has worked with the giant panda project for more than 25 years, believes that the partnership with China is significant in protecting the once-endangered bear species.

"Through those collaborations we have worked together to develop a number of innovations that have contributed meaningfully to the preservation of giant pandas, and we've also developed strong friendships along the way," Owen said.

She explained that the collaborative project has made great achievements in giant pandas' reproduction, such as developing a specialized milk formula that has increased the survival rate of cubs raised in the nursery, and the introduction of an ultrasound technique to monitor and manage panda pregnancies.

Highlighting the wildlife conservation efforts achieved by the zoo and its Chinese counterparts as a prime illustration of collaboration between the world's two largest economies, Guo committed to advancing people-to-people exchanges and fostering mutually beneficial cooperation for a new era in China-US friendship.

Global Edition
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349