Tian Tian (male giant panda)

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Tian Tian
Giant Panda 2004-03-2.jpg
Tian Tian at the National Zoo in Washington D.C. in March 2004
SpeciesGiant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca)
Born (1997-08-27) August 27, 1997 (age 22)
Wenchuan County, Sichuan, China
Nation fromChina
OwnerGovernment of China
ResidenceNational Zoo, Washington, DC
Weight275 lb (125 kg)

Tian Tian (Chinese: 添添; pinyin: Tiān Tiān; lit.: 'More and More') is a 275-pound male giant panda at the National Zoo in Washington D.C. The panda was born on August 27, 1997, at the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda at the Wolong National Nature Reserve in Sichuan Province, to Yong Ba (mother) and Pan Pan (father). Tian Tian is the half-brother of the San Diego Zoo's Bai Yun.

Giant pandas are thought to be solitary creatures, except for mating season and mothers with young cubs. In keeping with the habits of wild pandas, Tian is generally alone, although the zoo's female panda, Mei Xiang, and Tian are occasionally together outside of breeding season. While Tai Shan was still at the National Zoo, Tian and Tai occasionally viewed each other through a mesh-opening in the fence and were aware of each other's presence through scent marking. Male Giant Pandas play no part in raising their young in the wild. Tian and Mei are trained to participate in a full medical examination, including a blood draw, without anesthesia.[1]


Tian Tian at the National Zoo

Tian Tian is a father by artificial insemination only. While he and Mei Xang have been given multiple opportunities to mate naturally—and both are interested in doing so—they have never gotten the positioning correct. This is a problem with giant pandas born in captivity. In the summer of 2005, Mei gave birth to a male cub, Tai Shan, on July 9, 2005.[2][3] In keeping with the agreement made at the time Tian Tian and Mei Xiang arrived in the United States, Tai Shan left the National Zoo in February 2010 to return to his ancestral homeland. He flew to China on the same flight as his cousin Mei Lan, who was born at Zoo Atlanta.

Some of Tian Tian's semen was preserved cryogenically, and used when Mei Xiang was artificially inseminated in 2012. Mei Xiang gave birth to a cub on the night of September 16, 2012.[4] The unnamed cub died of liver failure at a week old.

On August 23, 2013, at 5:30pm, Mei Xiang delivered a female cub who was later named Bao Bao. Her name was selected by the public and given on her 100th day of life. Approximately 23 hours after Bao Bao's birth, Mei Xiang delivered a second cub, also female, who was stillborn. Bao Bao lived at the National Zoo until February 21, 2017, when she was sent to China.

Tian Tian has been confirmed through genetic testing to be the father of two cubs, both male, born to Mei Xiang on August 22, 2015. One of the cubs was named Bei Bei by Michelle Obama and Peng Liyuan, the wives of the American and Chinese presidents. The second cub died at 4 days old and was not named.


  1. ^ "Learning From Panda Play", Animal Planet, Robin M. Bennefield
  2. ^ Giant Pandas - National Zoo| FONZ
  3. ^ "If Tian Tian the giant panda had thoughts about fatherhood", The Washington Post, John Kelly, February 4, 2010
  4. ^ Ruane, Michael E. (17 September 2012). "National Zoo welcomes baby panda". The Washington Post. Washington, D.C.

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