Farewell to the pandas

Two days ago, our beloved panda family – mother Mei Xiang, father Tian Tian, and their son Xiao Qi Ji – left for China. We’re going to miss them so much. Here are some of our favorite photos of them:

Xiao Qi Ji

Xiao Qi Ji was born at the National Zoo in 2020, and his name means “little miracle” because it was an unexpected pregnancy given Mei Xiang’s advanced maternal age.

©Angela N.
©Angela N.
©Angela N.
©Angela N.
©Victoria Pickering
©Angela N.
©Victoria Pickering
©Angela N.
©Angela N.
Xiao Qi Ji two days before his departure ©Victoria Pickering
©Angela N.
©Victoria Pickering

Mei Xiang

Mei Xiang was born in China in 1998, and came to the National Zoo in 2000.

©Angela N.
©Victoria Pickering
©Angela N.
©Victoria Pickering
©Angela N.

Mei Xiang and Xiao Qi Ji together

Mei Xiang and Xiao Qi Ji lived together up until he was 2 1/2, but then they were ready to separate, as pandas live largely solitary lives in the wild.

©Angela N.
©Victoria Pickering
©Angela N.
©Angela N.
©Victoria Pickering

Tian Tian

Tian Tian was born in China in 1997, and came to the National Zoo in 2000.

©Angela N.
©Angela N.
©Victoria Pickering
©Angela N.
©Victoria Pickering
©Angela N.
©Victoria Pickering
©Victoria Pickering
©Angela N.
Tian Tian a week before his departure. ©Victoria Pickering

And thanks to their keepers!

The public only gets to see a small fraction of all of the care that has been given to the pandas. We’ve especially liked seeing the keepers give the pandas birthday and other treats.

Feeding a popsicle to Xiao Qi Ji on a hot day. ©Angela N.
©Victoria Pickering
©Victoria Pickering
©Victoria Pickering

If you want to see more about all the pandas who have lived at the National Zoo, check out our article last year on the 50th anniversary of the panda program.

Join the Conversation

4 Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing your wonderful photos. As a from far away fan of the pandas, I only got to visit them every year or so. Living through the panda cams and other people’s photos is not as good as being there, but it will have to do. I did not expect to be as sad when they left, but I am. Fortunately I have panda satire to keep me entertained till pandas arrive on our shores once again.
    My dear, late friend Judy Young was a major supporter and friend to bears as well as the albino squirrels.

    1. Thanks! Yes, these images are potentially for sale – but we’d need to know which ones you were interested in, and what type of terms/license you wanted (i.e. is it for a single personal use, some type of commercial use, etc.). So if you are interested, please write vlpickering@gmail.com with details on what you’d want.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *