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Giant pandas set to return to California

SACRAMENTO – California could become the first state in the U.S. to welcome a new pair of giant pandas in the latest round of a collaborative conservation effort with China.

The San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance announced that it has signed a cooperative agreement with the China Wildlife Conservation Association and filed a permit application with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. According to reports, two pandas could arrive by the end of the summer.

"California and China share deep cultural and economic ties, and we look forward to the opportunity to again welcome these iconic bears to the Golden State," said Governor Gavin Newsom, who led a weeklong visit to China last October. "From securing a safe future for this national treasure to fighting climate change, we're proud to continue our long history of working together towards shared goals."

In San Francisco last November during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit, Chinese President Xi Jinping signaled that China planned to send new pandas to the United States as "envoys of friendship" between the nations.

The APEC Summit followed Governor Newsom's October travel to China, during which he met with President Xi and other high-level Chinese officials to discuss climate action and cooperation, promote economic development and tourism, and strengthen cultural ties.

The state hopes that this week's announcement will lead to further exchanges and cooperation between California and China, which have a strong foundation of partnership built by Governors Schwarzenegger and Brown and the late Senator Dianne Feinstein, as well as Governor Newsom while serving as Mayor of San Francisco.

Submitted by Governor Gavin Newsom's press office.


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