The Voice of Wakefield High School

The Howler

The Voice of Wakefield High School

The Howler

The Voice of Wakefield High School

The Howler

Making these earl grey and blackberry cupcakes is the perfect way to welcome the spring season. Theyre a perfect treat to enjoy on any occasion.
Baking people happy: earl grey and blackberry cupcakes
Jordan McIntyre, Co-Opinions Editor • March 1, 2024


Fat bears aren’t the only animals you need to be caring about this October

America’s three favorite pandas, Mei Xiang, Tian Tian and Xiao Qi Ji, are set to leave the United States in December.
Tian Tian, one of the panda bears at the Washington, D.C. National Zoo, loves to have an icy treat and sit on her bed. After finishing her snack, she decided to sit and stare at the wall, preparing for her big journey to China in a few months. (Photo Courtesy of Alexandra Cazin)

From the chunky brown bears in the Katmai National Park to the Chicago Bears beating the Washington Commanders on Oct. 5, these fluffy predators have been the hot topic recently. However, there are three bears who deserve the utmost attention: Mei Xiang, Tian Tian and Xiao Qi Ji, the National Zoo’s giant pandas. 

The National Zoo got Mei Xiang and Tian Tian back in 2000 on loan, contributing funds toward conservation and breeding efforts in China to keep these creatures in the United States. Mei Xiang and Tian Tian had a total of four cubs over their years at the zoo, with the latest being Xiao Qi Ji. The zoo renewed its loan, made with the China Wildlife Conservation Association, three times since 2000, keeping these pandas in the US for the past two decades.

However, announced in 2020, these three pandas, along with countless others across the nation, are being sent back home to China as the agreement is officially expiring. 

Over the past 20 years, the National Zoo has sent three cubs back to China in conjunction with the agreement made, expanding the breeding program to help save the giant pandas. The program has helped tremendously, with giant pandas moving from the ‘Endangered’ species list to the ‘Vulnerable’ species list – meaning that the population is slowly growing. 

Now that the agreement with the China Wildlife Conservation Association has expired, the faces of the National Zoo are returning to their country of origin to continue the breeding program in hopes of further growing and saving the population. Mei Xiang, Tian Tian and their cub Xiao Qi Ji are leaving the United States in early December. You can still visit these fluffy animals, joining in on the extended farewell the zoo is holding for them. 

The Smithsonian National Zoo, just like the other Smithsonian Museums, falls into the trend of free entry, so there are no costs to seeing these bears before they leave. However, you can buy a variety of limited edition merch to not only remember the pandas by, but also to donate to the conservation efforts. If you can’t make the trip to Washington, D.C., no worries! There is also a giant panda cam that you can enjoy up until they leave. 

As we say a final teary-eyed goodbye to the pandas that have brought decades of joy, we should keep in mind the benefit of these three bears rejoining the rest of their species – the expansion of the entire panda population. 

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