Madrid Bids Farewell to Beloved Panda Family as China-Spain Friendship Continues

Madrid, Spain – In 2007, a gesture of goodwill from China to Spain brought the adorable giant panda couple Hua Zui Ba and Bing Xing to Madrid Zoo. Seventeen years later, the beloved pair, along with their six cubs born in the Spanish capital, are set to embark on a new chapter of their lives in China.

The family, including the star attractions – twin giant panda cubs You You and Jiu Jiu – will be making the journey together to Chengdu Panda Research Centre, marking the end of an era at Madrid Zoo.

China’s Ambassador to Spain, Yao Jing, expressed the significance of the giant panda family as a symbol of enduring friendship between the two nations. “On the importance of pandas as a symbol of ongoing friendship,” Ambassador Yao Jing stated during a press conference.

Despite the bittersweet farewell, Spain’s panda enthusiasts can take solace in China’s promise to send a younger panda couple to replace Hua Zui Ba and Bing Xing. Foreign Minister Wang Yi made the announcement earlier in the week, bringing joy to many in Madrid who have cherished the giant panda program. In partnership with the China Wildlife Conservation Association, the Spain-China panda collaboration has been a resounding success, with six pandas brought into the world during their time in Madrid.

While bidding adieu to Bing Xing and family is a somber moment for Madrid Zoo, it also signifies the positive impact of the panda program. Madrid Zoo’s Panda Carer, María del Clo, shared plans for the future, expressing anticipation for the new pair of young pandas expected to arrive soon.

The success of conservation efforts is reflected in the increased giant panda population, with numbers in the wild rising from 1,100 in the 80s to almost 2,000 in 2023, according to official figures from the Chinese government. With an additional 728 pandas in zoos and protection centers worldwide, the species has transitioned from ‘endangered’ to ‘vulnerable’ status.

As Madrid Zoo awaits the arrival of its new panda ambassadors, the enduring friendship between China and Spain continues to thrive, exemplified by the cherished giant panda family that has captured the hearts of both nations.