All pandas in the United States will be returned to China as existing agreements with U.S. zoos conclude by the end of 2024, according to an article by Zoe Wells for USA Today. The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., recently announced that its three pandas will be transported back to China by the end of this year. Other zoos, including those in Memphis, Atlanta, and San Diego, have already returned their pandas or have plans to do so by the end of next year. This marks a significant event, as it will be the first time in five decades that no panda bears will reside in the U.S.
The specific reason behind this large-scale relocation remains unclear, although there are suggestions that strained relations between the U.S. and China may have played a role. The practice of panda exchanges began in 1972 when China generously gifted its first panda to the U.S. Currently, the last group of pandas in the U.S. can be found in Atlanta, but they too are expected to leave soon. The future of Zoo Atlanta’s giant panda program is uncertain beyond 2024 when the loan agreement expires.
San Diego Zoo bid farewell to its panda residents in 2019 after their loan agreement with China came to an end. Similarly, Memphis Zoo’s panda named Ya Ya was returned to China earlier this year.
Analyzing the article for political slant and factual accuracy, it does not exhibit an overt political bias, although there are hints at possible political implications, such as strained US-China relations, potentially influencing the pandas’ return. The information presented appears to be primarily factual, based on official announcements from various zoos regarding their pandas. The article does not include specific personal opinions or speculative language and aims to objectively inform readers about the subject matter. Hence, the article is assessed as being 90% likely to be factual news based on my current analysis.