A lovely piece put together to bid farewell to Tian Tian, Mei Xiang, and Xiao Qi Ji, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo pandas who are due to return to China in December. Illustrated by five decades of media coverage, it’s a touching—and fun—essay on the Zoo’s panda history.
Named Xiao Qi Ji, which translates to “little miracle,” after a public vote, the cub “brought a lot of renewed attention and sparked a lot of joy,” Monfort said in December 2020. Panda lovers stuck at home during the Covid-19 pandemic followed the cub’s every move, and keepers posted near-daily updates on his development. “The chief arbiter of joy in 2020,” declared Washingtonian, was Xiao Qi Ji.