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    Default history of giant pandas in UK

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    In December 1938, five giant pandas were smuggled out of China to England. Four of them were bought by London Zoo. Photographer Bert Hardy's son, Mike Hardy, poses for a photo with Ming one of the pandas at London Zoo

    Ming, one of four pandas bought by London Zoo was featured in propaganda to boost British morale during World War II

    1946: Young Steffi introduces Pandy the toy panda to Unity the real giant panda, (formerly Lien Ho) at Regents Park Zoo, London

    Twenty years later, in 1958, came a female panda Chi-Chi. She was originally destined for an American zoo, but at the time Washington had banned all trade with Communist China. Chi-Chi was branded "communist goods" and was refused entry to the United States

    Chi-Chi became the scene-stealing, star attraction of London Zoo, and remained the best-loved animal in Britain until her death. As the only giant panda in the west, Chi-Chi was the inspiration behind Peter Scott's design for a symbol for the World Wildlife Fund

    She was greatly pampered, and often indulged with chocolates by visitors

    The Zoological Society of London had previously ruled that they would not encourage the collection of wild pandas, in the interests of conservation. But since it was pointed out that Chi-Chi had already been collected, her purchase with assistance from Granada TV was approved

    In the late 1960s her fruitless liaison with Moscow Zoo's An-An made regular front page news. When she died in July 1972, Chi-Chi was widely mourned

    1966: London Zoo's giant panda Chi-Chi seen here back in her quarters after her unsuccessful mating expedition to Moscow

    In 1974 Prime Minister Edward Heath returned from China with two new residents for London Zoo, female panda Ching-Ching and her male companion Chia-Chia - a result of China's panda diplomacy initiative

    Ching-Ching and Chia-Chia, however with all of the technology and best intentions of London Zoo, failed to produce any offspring

    Chia-Chia the panda was given to Britain by the Chinese Government in 1974

    Ching-Ching needed almost constant medical attention, and after her death, Chia-Chia left in 1988 on a breeding loan to Mexico City Zoo, which has a good record of panda breeding. Ching Ching (seen here on the right) with Chia Chia after her return following an illness

    In the autumn of 1991 Ming-Ming arrived and was followed by a male, Bao Bao, a loan from Berlin Zoo in hope that they could produce offspring. However, Bao Bao didn't like Ming Ming. Instead the couple fought savagely, shattering Britain's high hopes for that extreme rarity, a baby panda born in London

    Nowadays almost all pandas exported abroad are on loan rather than donated and often their rates are pricey.
    ...being a human...



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