Chi Chi (giant panda)
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.
She was caught in May 1955 in Baoxing, Sichuan, and moved to the Beijing Zoo in June. In May 1957, Kliment Voroshilov made a request for panda for Moscow Zoo during his visit to China, then she was sent to Moscow with another panda in the same month. However, the attempts to mate them were unsuccessful. The Russians suspected that both pandas were male, and as a result, Soviet returned Chi Chi to China in exchange for another panda in January 1958. In May of the same year, the Austrian animal broker, Heini Demmer, acquired Chi Chi from Beijing Zoo in exchange for an impressive collection of African hoofstock and brought the animal back to Moscow Zoo. After resting for a week, the panda journeyed to Tierpark Berlin, the zoo in East Berlin. By then, Chi Chi had already been sold to Brookfield Zoo in Illinois, United States. However, the Treasury Department stepped in and announced that the US trade embargo on goods from the People's Republic of China extended even to pandas. Chi Chi was thus refused entry to the USA. The Frankfurt Zoological Garden provided a temporary home for the panda until Demmer decided to temporarily hire the animal out to European zoos. She then visited Copenhagen Zoo before she 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 £12,000. Chi Chi became property of London Zoo on 26 September 1958.
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. However the organization's current logo 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.
- 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.
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Heini Demmer, Ute Demmer & Erich Tylinek: Tschitschi der Bambusbär. Artia, Prague 1961.