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San Francisco’s panda project is moving forward


SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – According to a memorandum of understanding signed by the mayor and the China Wildlife Conservation Association, two giant pandas will arrive in San Francisco in 2025. However, preparing a habitat worthy of a panda is a costly undertaking.

The adorable animals, considered national treasures in China, will live at the San Francisco Zoo. Mayor London Breed pushed hard for pandas during the APEC summit in November and during her recent visit to China.

A baby panda climbs a tree at Chongqing Zoo in southwest China on May 26, 2024. (Photo by CFOTO/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

To raise enough money in time for the 2025 timeline goal, the mayor’s office asked the Government Audit and Oversight Committee’s Board of Supervisors for an ethics waiver to allow city agencies to solicit $25 million in donations from private philanthropic entities.

The supervisory committee unanimously approved the mayor’s release on Thursday. A final green light is still needed if the full Board of Supervisors votes on the resolution at next week’s meeting.

Giant pandas eat bamboo at the Chongqing Zoo in Chongqing, China, on May 2, 2024. (Photo by Costfoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Officials from the Mayor’s Office explained: “The city-imposed payment ordinance limits the ability of city officials and staff to raise funds from philanthropists and other private entities. The resolution provides a temporary exception for departments to raise money for the sole purpose of bringing pandas to San Francisco using private donations.”

Donations will be given to the zoo, which is owned by the city and county of San Francisco and managed by the nonprofit San Francisco Zoological Society. Part of the $25 million will fund “constructing or renovating a panda enclosure that promotes a safe and thriving environment, and developing workforce capacity,” the mayor’s office wrote.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed (Photo by LOREN ELLIOTT/AFP via Getty Images)

Breed, SFZS and China Wildlife Conservation Association signed a letter of intent in April outlining San Francisco’s panda plan:

  • Implement international cooperation for giant panda conservation.

  • CWCA will guide SFZS in making preparations for the construction of the giant panda facility, food supply, technical expertise and personnel.

  • After the conditions for cooperation are met, China will send a pair of giant pandas to the San Francisco Zoo.

  • Both sides will seek to officially sign an agreement “as soon as possible to ensure that a pair of giant pandas are sent to the San Francisco Zoological Society & Gardens in 2025,” according to the letter of intent.

Breed previously said: “Securing the agreement to welcome giant pandas to San Francisco was just a first step for us. We have a lot of work ahead of us to raise the money and build the enclosure at our zoo that will serve as their home and delight residents and visitors. I am confident we will receive strong philanthropic support from the community eager to support San Francisco and our new panda friends.”

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