Giant Pandas Mei Xiang, Tian Tian Signed Through 2020

Giant Panda
Smithsonian Institution

Giant pandas Mei Xiang and Tian Tian are here to stay -- at least a few years longer.

Zoo Director Dennis Kelly has signed an agreement with the China Wildlife and Conservation Association (CWCA) to keep the pandas at the National Zoo at least until December 2020.

This is the same breeding agreement the zoo had before, so 2-year-old Bao Bao and 3-month-old Bei Bei will have to go back to China when they turn 4.

As part of the agreement, the zoo will give $500,000 every year to China for conservation projects.

Kelly said he's excited to keep working to protect the endangered species.

"Every giant panda is part of a larger conservation effort. The best part of this agreement is that we will continue our research and collaboration with our Chinese colleagues on reproduction, habitat and wildlife disease issues," he said in a statement.

The pandas' home is also getting an upgrade thanks to a $4.5 million donation from a Smithsonian Board of Regents member. This gift will help make more panda living spaces in China, too.

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