"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