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"Giant pandas are black and white bears that live in temperate-zone bamboo forests in a small area in central China. Among the best recognized and also the rarest animals in the world, they have come to symbolize endangered species and conservation efforts. Only about 1,000 giant pandas survive in the mountain forests of central China. Another 120 are in Chinese breeding facilities and zoos, and about 20 live in zoos outside China."

This gallery show-case three pandas: Hua Mei and Gao Gao at the San Diego Zoo and Tian Tian at the National Zoo in Washington DC. Hua Mei (pronounced hwa-may) made her entrance into the world on August 21, 1999, and instantly captured the hearts of animal lovers worldwide. She has the distinction of being the first giant panda born at the San Diego Zoo. Gao Gao (pronounced gow-gow and meaning "big big") arrived at the San Diego Zoo in January 2003. The wild-born adult male panda came from China's Wolong Nature Reserve. Although Gao Gao means "big big", this panda is stunted from mal-nutrition when he was found abandoned in the wild. Mei Xiang and Tian Tian are the National Zoo's second pair of giant pandas. Both were born at the China Research and Conservation Center for the Giant Panda in Wolong, Sichuan Province.