In 1972, US President Richard Nixon made an historic trip to China re-start diplomatic relations between the two countries. One of the most publicly visible results was the gift of two giant pandas—Ling Ling and Hsing Hsing—to the Smithsonian Institution's National Zoo in Washington, DC, both of which became hugely popular media stars and tourist attractions. Since the gift of those first two pandas, the National Zoo has hosted a number of other giant pandas, on loan from China, for research and educational purposes. Bao Bao, the young female offspring of the National Zoos two giant pandas Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, recently returned to China before her 4th birthday, per the agreement.
Bao Bao the Panda Leaves the Beltway Behind to Breed in China
By Noah Weiland
The New York Times
February 21, 2017