The World's Most Famous Living Giant Pandas And Their Unique Life Stories

Some giant pandas have been loved and adored more than others and have helped attract public attention towards the conservation of this species.

The giant panda is one of the most recognizable mammals in the world due to their distinct black and white markings. While the species has a growing population in the wild (estimated to stand at around 3,000 animals), a significant population is found in zoos around the world. In 2013, the total number of giant pandas in captivity stood at 375 animals. Most of the pandas in captivity are crowd-pullers in their respective zoo. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the giant panda is classified as vulnerable. Habitat fragmentation and habitat loss are the biggest threats to its survival of this species.

10. Basi

Basi is a female giant panda currently residing in Fuzhou, China. Basi is world-famous for being the oldest panda in captivity as she was born in 1980, making her 37 years of age, which is equivalent to 140 human years and can only be fed on liquid food and some few bamboo leaves. Basi has high blood pressure and need cataract surgery, despite the challenges Basi has an fairly overall good health

9. Xin Xin

Xin Xin is a giant panda who currently resides at the Mexico City-based Chapultepec Zoo and is one of the zoo’s main attractions. The female adult giant panda was born on July 1st, 1990 after her mother, Tohui conceived through artificial insemination from sperm collected from Xin Xin’s father, Chia Chia. Both parents of Xin Xin are deceased - Tohui died on November 16th, 1993 while Chia Chia died on October 13th, 1991. Xin Xin is one of the few giant pandas found in North America but residing outside of the United States.

8. Bai Yun

Bai Yun is a world known female giant panda who is presently living in the San Diego Zoo. The Panda was born on September 7th, 1991 at China’s Wolong Giant Panda Research Center making her 25 years old. Bai Yun was born to Dong Dong, a female giant panda and Pan Pan, a male giant panda. Bai Yun was transferred from China to the San Diego Zoo in 1996. Bai Yun gave birth to her first offspring, Hua Mei on August 21st, 1999 after conceiving through artificial insemination. Bai Yun later gave birth to other panda cubs including Xiao Liwu in 2012, the birth which made Bai Yun the second-oldest giant panda to give birth.

7. Lun Lun

Lun Lun is a female adult giant panda currently residing in Atlanta, Georgia. Lun Lun was born on August 25th, 1997 at the China-based Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding and was then named Hua Hua. She was later renamed Lun Lun by Su Huilun, a Taiwanese rock star who was also the giant panda’s sponsor. Lun Lun gave birth to her first cub, Mei Lan, who she conceived through artificial insemination, on September 6th, 2006. Mei Lan was the first of the many cubs Lun Lun has given birth including two sets of twins.

6. Mei Xiang

Mei Xiang is an adult female panda who resides currently at the National Zoo in Washington D.C. The 19-year-old panda was born on July 22nd, 1998 in Wolong, China at the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda to Xue Xue (female) and Lin Nan (male) both of whom were wild giant pandas. Mei Xiang is famed for being the parents of Bao Bao, Bei Bei, and Tai Shan.

5. Tian Tian

Tian Tian is an adult female giant panda found at the Edinburgh Zoo in Scotland. The giant panda is one of the only two giant pandas in the United Kingdom. Tian Tian was born at the Beijing Zoo on August 24th, 2003 to Niu Niu (female) and Ying Ying (male). Tian Tian arrived in Scotland in December 2011 from China.

4. Yang Yang

Yang Yang is a male giant panda currently residing at the Zoo Atlanta in, Georgia. Yang Yang was born on September 9th, 1997 at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in China. Yang Yang is the father to Mei Lan, Mei Lun, Mei Huan and Xi Lan all of whom he got with his mate, Lun Lun.

3. Hua Mei

Hua Mei resides at the Bifengxia Panda Base in Ya’an China and is a female adult giant panda. Hua Mei is renowned for being the first giant panda to live to adulthood in the US. The animal was born on August 21st, 1999 at the San Diego Zoo to female panda Bai Yun and male panda Shi Shi. Hua Mei was transferred to the Wolong Reserve in China in February 2004 upon attaining adulthood where she delivered three sets of twins between 2004 and 2007. Hua Mei was later transferred to her current residence in 2008 after the Sichuan earthquake destroyed most sections of Wolong’s panda facility.

2. Gu Gu

Gu Gu is an adult giant panda currently residing at the Beijing Zoo in China. The male giant panda was born at the Wolong National Nature Reserve on September 25, 1999. Gu Gu is one of the most famous giant pandas at the zoo, and he has received much media attention after several incidents where he has bitten people who enter into his enclosure.

1. Chuang Chuang

Chuang Chuang currently resides at the Chiang Mai Zoo in Thailand after being transferred in a loan agreement from Sichuan, China. He is a male giant panda. Chuang Chuang was born on August 6th, 2000 making him 16 years of age. He was born at the China Conservation and Research Center for Giant Pandas. Chuang Chuang’s parents are Bai Xue (mother) and Xin Xing (father). Chuang Chuang had its first cub with Lin Hui, a female, through artificial insemination, on May 27th, 2009.

The World's Most Famous Living Giant Pandas And Their Unique Life Stories

RankNamesBirth dateLocation
1Bai Yun (F)September 7, 1991 (age 25)San Diego Zoo
2Bao Bao (F)August 23, 2013 (age 3)National Zoo China
3Basi (F)1980 (age 36–37)Fuzhou
4Bei Bei (M)August 22, 2015 (age 1)National Zoo
5Chuang Chuang (M)August 6, 2000 (age 16)Chiang Mai Zoo
6Da Mao (M)September 1, 2008 (age 8)Toronto Zoo
7Er Shun (F)August 10, 2007 (age 9)Toronto Zoo
8Gao Gao (M)1990 +/- 2 years (according to studbook)San Diego Zoo
9Gu Gu (M)2000 (age 16–17)Beijing Zoo
10Hua Mei (F)August 21, 1999 (age 17)San Diego Zoo Bifengxia Panda Base
11Jia Panpan (M)October 13, 2015 (age 1)Toronto Zoo
12Jia Yueyue (F)October 13, 2015 (age 1)Toronto Zoo
13Lin Bing (F)May 27, 2009 (age 8)Chiang Mai Zoo
14Lin Hui (F)September 28, 2001 (age 15)Chiang Mai Zoo
15Lun Lun (F)August 25, 1997 (age 19)Zoo Atlanta
16Mei Lan (M)September 6, 2006 (age 10)Zoo Atlanta
17Mei Sheng (M)August 3, 2003 (age 13)San Diego Zoo Bifengxia Panda Base
18Mei Xiang (F)July 22, 1998 (age 19)National Zoo in Washington D.C.
19Po (F)[1]November 3, 2010 (age 6)Zoo Atlanta
20Su Lin (F)August 2, 2005 (age 11)San Diego Zoo Bifengxia Panda Base
21Tai Shan (M)July 9, 2005 (age 12)National Zoo in Washington D.C. Bifengxia Panda Base
22Tian Tian (M)August 27, 1997 (age 19)National Zoo in Washington D.C.
23Tian Tian (F)August 24, 2003 (age 13)Edinburgh Zoo
24Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan (M) and (F)Tuan Tuan September 1, 2004 (age 12) Yuan Yuan August 31, 2004 (age 12)Taipei Zoo
25Wang Wang (M)August 31, 2005 (age 11)Adelaide Zoo
26Xi Lan (M)August 30, 2008 (age 8)Zoo Atlanta
27Xin Xin (F)July 1, 1990 (age 27)Chapultepec Zoo
28Xiao Liwu (M)July 29, 2012 (age 4)San Diego Zoo
29Yang Yang (M)September 9, 1997 (age 19)Zoo Atlanta
30Yang Guang (M)[2]August 14, 2003 (age 13)Edinburgh Zoo
31Yuan Zai (F)[3]July 6, 2013 (age 4)Taipei Zoo
32Yun Zi (M)August 5, 2009 (age 7)San Diego Zoo
33Zhen Zhen (F)August 3, 2007 (age 9) San Diego Zoo Bifengxia Panda Base

About the Author

Benjamin Elisha Sawe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Statistics and an MBA in Strategic Management. He is a frequent World Atlas contributor. 


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