|Xin Xin and her mother Tohui at the Chapultepec Zoo, 1991|
In 1991, I traveled to Mexico City with photographer Dick Hewett to research and photograph the pandas at the Chapultepec Zoo, home to the largest group of zoo pandas outside China, including Xin Xin, a one-year old baby panda, who became the star of our book, Panda (Morrow Junior Books, 1992). Xin Xin, now age 32, is the last surviving panda at the zoo.
I was surprised and pleased to find an article in the LA Times this week about Xin Xin and the history of pandas at the Chapultepec Zoo. Xin Xin is the granddaughter of Pe Pe and Ying Ying, the pandas given to Mexico by China in 1974 as part of their “panda diplomacy.” Since 1984, all pandas in foreign zoos have been on loan from China, and any baby pandas born from loaned animals since 1985 must be returned to China. So Xin Xin was unique in being able to stay in Mexico and grow up there.
My book, Panda, is part of the baby zoo animal series I did with Dick Hewett. Although the paper book is long out of print, Panda continues to be available as an ebook on Amazon and other sites.
Here is the link to the LA Times article about the pandas in Mexico City.