Chi Chi (giant panda)

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Chi Chi at London Zoo, September 1967

Chi Chi (1957 in wild in Sichuan, China - 22 July 1972 London Zoo, United Kingdom) was a well-known giant panda at London Zoo in England.[1]

Chi Chi was not London Zoo's first giant panda; Ming was one of four that arrived in 1938. However, it was Chi Chi who became the Zoo's star attraction and Britain's best-loved zoo animal.[2]


She was born in 1957, caught in December 1957 in Sichuan, and moved to the Beijing Zoo in January 1958. The Austrian animal broker Heini Demmer acquired Chi Chi in exchange for an impressive collection of African hoofstock in May 1958 and brought the animal to Moscow Zoo. After a rest of a week the panda went on journey to Tierpark Berlin, the zoo in the eastern part of the then divided city. By then Chi Chi had already been sold to a zoo in the United States, but the American government had ceased all trade with communist China for political reasons. Thus, Chi Chi was refused entry to the USA. Frankfurt Zoo provided a temporary home for the panda until Demmer decided to hire the animal out to European zoos for limited time. Next visit was Copenhagen Zoo, before Chi Chi arrived at London Zoo on 5 September 1958. The Zoological Society of London had stated that it would not encourage collection of wild pandas, but accepted Chi Chi since she had already been collected. Although Chi Chi's visit was originally planned to last for only three weeks, it was decided to buy her for the amount of £12,000. Chi Chi became property of London Zoo on 26 September 1958.[3]

WWF logo inspired by Chi Chi

Chi Chi was an inspiration for Sir Peter Scott's simple but distinctive black and white design used as the logo of the World Wildlife Fund.[4][5] However the logo shown on this page is not the logo designed by Peter Scott but a later one, designed for WWF in 1986 when it changed its name from World Wildlife Fund to World Wide Fund for Nature.[citation needed]

There were unsuccessful attempts to mate Chi Chi with Moscow Zoo's An An.[2]

Chi Chi died on 22 July 1972[6] and was mourned by the nation.[2] A post mortem was conducted. Her remains, now a stuffed exhibit, sit in a glass case, at London's Natural History Museum.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Michael R. Brambell, London Zoo's Giant panda: Ailuropoda melatiolenca: 'Chi Chi', 1957–1972. International Zoo Yearbook, Volume 14, Issue 1, pages 163–164. Published online 18 December 2007. The Zoological Society of London, 1985. doi:10.1111/j.1748-1090.1974.tb00809.x.
  2. ^ a b c "London Zoo". Good Zoos. Retrieved 2008-03-05. 
  3. ^ Ramona Morris & Desmond Morris: The Giant Panda. Revised edition by Jonathan Barzdo. Papermac, London 1981, pp. 93-111, ISBN 0-333-32473-0
  4. ^ Strategic management for voluntary nonprofit organizations. Routledge. Retrieved 2008-10-28. 
  5. ^ WWF: Giant Panda
  6. ^ Gwynne Vevers: London's Zoo. London 1976, p. 99, ISBN 0-370-10440-4
  7. ^ Henry Nicholls (2011). The Way of the Panda: The Curious History of China's Political Animal. Open Road Media. ISBN 978-1-4532-1773-3. 

Further reading[edit]

Heini Demmer, Ute Demmer & Erich Tylinek: Tschitschi der Bambusbär. Artia, Prague 1961.