Tian Tian (male giant panda)

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Tian Tian
Giant Panda 2004-03-2.jpg
Tian Tian at the National Zoo in Washington D.C. in March 2004
Species Giant panda ( Ailuropoda melanoleuca )
Born (1997-08-27) August 27, 1997 (age 23)
Wenchuan County, Sichuan, China
Nation from China
Owner Government of China
Residence National Zoo, Washington, DC
Weight275 lb (125 kg)

Tian Tian (Chinese :添添; pinyin :Tiān Tiān; lit. 'More and More') is a 275-pound male giant panda at the National Zoo in Washington D.C. The panda was born on August 27, 1997, at the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda at the Wolong National Nature Reserve in Sichuan Province, to Yong Ba (mother) and Pan Pan (father). Tian Tian is the half-brother of the San Diego Zoo's Bai Yun.


Giant pandas are thought to be solitary creatures, except for mating season and mothers with young cubs. In keeping with the habits of wild pandas, Tian is generally alone, although the zoo's female panda, Mei Xiang, and Tian are occasionally together outside of breeding season. While Tai Shan was still at the National Zoo, Tian and Tai occasionally viewed each other through a mesh-opening in the fence and were aware of each other's presence through scent marking. Male Giant Pandas play no part in raising their young in the wild. Tian and Mei are trained to participate in a full medical examination, including a blood draw, without anesthesia. [1]


Tian Tian at the National Zoo Giant Panda at the zoo.jpg
Tian Tian at the National Zoo

Tian Tian is a father by artificial insemination only. While he and Mei Xiang have been given multiple opportunities to mate naturally—and both are interested in doing so—they have never gotten the positioning correct. This is a problem with giant pandas born in captivity. In the summer of 2005, Mei gave birth to a male cub, Tai Shan, on July 9, 2005. [2] [3] In keeping with the agreement made at the time Tian Tian and Mei Xiang arrived in the United States, Tai Shan left the National Zoo in February 2010 to return to his ancestral homeland. He flew to China on the same flight as his cousin Mei Lan, who was born at Zoo Atlanta.

Some of Tian Tian's semen was preserved cryogenically, and used when Mei Xiang was artificially inseminated in 2012. Mei Xiang gave birth to a female cub on the night of September 16, 2012. [4] The unnamed cub died of liver failure at a week old.

On August 23, 2013, at 5:30pm, Mei Xiang delivered a female cub who was later named Bao Bao. Her name was selected by the public and given on her 100th day of life. Approximately 23 hours after Bao Bao's birth, Mei Xiang delivered a second cub, also female, who was stillborn. Bao Bao lived at the National Zoo until February 21, 2017, when she was sent to China.

Tian Tian has been confirmed through genetic testing to be the father of two cubs, both male, born to Mei Xiang on August 22, 2015. One of the cubs was named Bei Bei by Michelle Obama and Peng Liyuan, the wives of the American and Chinese presidents. The second cub died at 4 days old and was not named.

On August 21, 2020, another male cub named Xiao Qi Ji was born to Mei Xiang. [5]

Related Research Articles

Giant panda Species of mammal

The giant panda, also known as the panda bear or simply the panda, is a bear native to south central China. It is characterised by large, black patches around its eyes, over the ears, and across its round body. The name "giant panda" is sometimes used to distinguish it from the red panda, a neighboring musteloid. Though it belongs to the order Carnivora, the giant panda is a folivore, with bamboo shoots and leaves making up more than 99% of its diet. Giant pandas in the wild will occasionally eat other grasses, wild tubers, or even meat in the form of birds, rodents, or carrion. In captivity, they may receive honey, eggs, fish, yams, shrub leaves, oranges, or bananas along with specially prepared food.

National Zoological Park (United States) Zoo in Washington, D.C., and Front Royal, Virginia

The National Zoological Park, commonly known as the National Zoo, is one of the oldest zoos in the United States. It is part of the Smithsonian Institution and does not charge admission. Founded in 1889, its mission is to "provide engaging experiences with animals and create and share knowledge to save wildlife and habitats".

Tai Shan (giant panda)

Tai Shan is a giant panda born at the National Zoo in Washington D.C. on July 9, 2005 at 3:41 AM. He is the first panda cub born at the National Zoo to survive for more than a few days.

Hua Mei

Hua Mei, is a female giant panda. She is the first giant panda cub to survive to adulthood in the United States. She was born to Bai Yun (mother) and Shi Shi (father) at the San Diego Zoo. Millions of people around the world watched Hua Mei grow up via the zoo's Panda Cam.

Su Lin (giant panda, born 2005)

Su Lin is a female giant panda born at the San Diego Zoo on August 2, 2005. Her name — one of five options in an online poll — means "a little bit of something very cute" in Chinese.

Mei Xiang is a female giant panda who lives at the National Zoo in Washington D.C.

Lun Lun

Lun Lun is a female giant panda at Zoo Atlanta in Atlanta, Georgia. The panda, now 242 pounds (110 kg), was born at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in China on August 25, 1997. Her original name, Hua Hua, was changed to Lun Lun by her sponsor, the Taiwanese rock star Su Huilun.

Mei Lan

Mei Lan, is a male giant panda. He was born at Zoo Atlanta in Atlanta, Georgia on September 6, 2006, after his mother's, Lun Lun, record-setting 35-hour labor. Originally identified by zoo staffers as female, Mei Lan was determined to be male by staff in China at the Chengdu Research Base of Panda Breeding. He is the first offspring of Lun Lun and Yang Yang, who are also the parents of Xi Lan, Po, and 2 pairs of twins, namely Mei Lun & Mei Huan, and Ya Lun & Xi Lun. Mei Lan was relocated to Chengdu, China on February 4, 2010.

Bai Yun

Bai Yun is a female giant panda sheltered at the San Diego Zoo. Bai Yun was the first successful birth of a giant panda at the Wolong Giant Panda Research Center in China. She lived at the San Diego Zoo from September 1996 to May 2019, at which time she returned to China. Bai Yun gave birth to her sixth cub in 2012 since arriving at the San Diego Zoo, considered the most surviving pandas born at a breeding facility outside of native China. Bai Yun returned to China with her sixth cub in May, 2019, as the 23-year conservation loan of the pandas came to an end between China and San Diego Zoo Global.

Yang Yang (Atlanta giant panda)

Yang Yang is a male giant panda currently in captivity at Zoo Atlanta. He is the mate to Lun Lun and the father to Mei Lan, Xi Lan, Po, twins Mei Lun and Mei Huan and two new female twins, Ya Lun and Xi Lun.

Yun Zi

Yun Zi is a male giant panda born at the San Diego Zoo on August 5, 2009. His name is "Son of Cloud (Yun)" in Chinese.

Bifengxia Panda Base

Bifengxia Giant Panda Base is a giant panda research and breeding facility in Bifengxia Town, Ya'an, Sichuan, China. Since opening in 2004, it has become home to several more giant pandas. This includes the U.S.-born Hua Mei and Mei Sheng, who were relocated there after the May 12, 2008, Sichuan earthquake severely damaged the panda breeding center at the Wolong National Nature Reserve. Both facilities are managed by the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda.

Bao Bao

Bao Bao is a female giant panda cub who was born at the National Zoo in Washington D.C. She lived at the Zoo for four years until February 2017. She is currently located at the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda in Sichuan Province.

Tian Tian (female giant panda)

Tian Tian is a female panda born on 24 August 2003 at the Beijing Zoo from mother Niu Niu and father Ying Ying, and currently resident at Edinburgh Zoo, Scotland. She arrived in Edinburgh in December 2011 together with a male panda named Yáng Guāng. Currently they are the only two pandas in the United Kingdom. They are on a 10-year loan from the Bifengxia Breeding Centre in China at a cost of £640,000 per year.

As of 2019, there are 26 zoos in 20 countries outside of mainland China that have giant pandas. These zoos have contracts with China to house these pandas for a few years. Giant pandas are on the IUCN Red List so part of the reason these contracts exist between China and international zoos is to try to help the species reproduce before they are brought back to their native land. For this reason, pandas are treated very well.

Tiantian or Tian Tian may refer to:

Bei Bei Giant panda at the US National Zoo

Bei Bei is a male giant panda cub who was born and lived at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., in the United States. He was part of US-China relations panda diplomacy, and was sent to the People's Republic of China on November 19, 2019 at the age of 4. He is now at the Ya’an Bifengxia Base of the Giant Panda Conservation and Research Center in southwest Sichuan province. He is the brother of Tai Shan, Bao Bao, and Xiao Qi Ji.

Lisa Marie Stevens is the former senior curator for mammals, and managed both the giant panda program and the primate program at the Smithsonian Institution's National Zoo. She worked at the National Zoo from 1978 to her retirement in 2011. She managed the National Zoo’s panda breeding program as early as 1987, but rose to national prominence following the birth of panda cub Tai Shan in 2005.

Xiao Qi Ji

Xiao Qi Ji is a male giant panda cub who was born at the National Zoo in Washington D.C. on 21 August 2020. The cub of Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, Xiao Qi Ji is a result of artificial insemination of Mei Xiang in March.


  1. "Learning From Panda Play", Animal Planet, Robin M. Bennefield
  2. Giant Pandas - National Zoo| FONZ
  3. "If Tian Tian the giant panda had thoughts about fatherhood", The Washington Post, John Kelly, February 4, 2010
  4. Ruane, Michael E. (17 September 2012). "National Zoo welcomes baby panda". The Washington Post . Washington, D.C.
  5. Khalil, Ashraf (2020-08-23). "'The whole world celebrates' birth of panda cub". News & Observer via Associated Press.