Year of Dragon celebration kicks off in U.S. wildlife park

Updated: February 19, 2024 Source: Xinhua News Agency
fontLarger fontSmaller

SAN DIEGO, the United States, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) -- San Diego Zoo Safari Park on Saturday kicked off a two-day special event to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year.

Paul Baribault, president and CEO of the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, hosted the opening ceremony of the annual event, which was attended by Chinese Consul General in Los Angeles Guo Shaochun.

The San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance is an international nonprofit conservation organization in California. It has the largest zoological society membership in the world, with more than 250,000 member households and 130,000 child memberships.

Besides wishing all visitors and their loved ones good health and prosperity in the Year of the Dragon, Baribault praised the joint efforts of the alliance and its Chinese partners in breeding and protecting giant pandas and other species while addressing the opening ceremony.

"Each year inspires passion for nature, we shared nearly 30 years of cooperation with our Chinese conversation partners and together we helped transform the future," he said, noting "together we can make the impossible possible for wildlife, for people on the planet we share."

He said the Chinese Lunar New Year celebration reflected the friendship between the two countries' people and how the partnerships make things possible.

Guo echoed Baribault's wish and highlighted the zoo's cooperation with its Chinese partners on a research project on giant pandas, the first between the two countries.

"The San Diego Zoo made significant breakthroughs in improving the survival rate of panda cubs and successfully bred six panda cubs," Guo recalled. "Bai Yun and Xiao Liwu were once the superstars of the zoo and attracted many loyal fans, men or women, old or young."

The panda "Bai Yun," which means "White Cloud" in Chinese, arrived at the San Diego Zoo in 1996 and lived there for 23 years, becoming the symbol of the zoo.

"Bai Yun" and its last cub, "Xiao Liwu," which means "Little Gift" in Chinese, returned to their hometown in China in 2019, but the pavilion where they lived is still a popular spot for tourists.

Citing the wildlife conservation efforts by the zoo and its Chinese partners as a good example of cooperation between the two biggest economies in the world, Guo pledged to promote people-to-people exchanges and mutually beneficial collaboration, writing a new chapter in the China-U.S. friendship.

"We hope that our two peoples will make more visits, contacts and exchanges. We welcome more American youths to visit China and explore a real, comprehensive and multi-dimensional China," Guo said.

During the celebration event, guests to the zoo hung New Year wishes on trees, received red envelopes with gifts inside, met with specialists and learned about wildlife.

Guests were invited to tie red ribbons with their wishes to the "wishing trees" in the park.

"Wishes for a world where all life thrives," Baribault wrote.

"The friendship between the people of China and the United States is evergreen," Guo's wish card read.

Editor: Duan Jing