When the couple landed at Dulles International Airport on Dec. 6, 2000, amid the popping flashbulbs of panda paparazzi, they were international pandas of mystery. The air of intrigue surrounding Mei Xiang and Tian Tian only increased when they welcomed a panda cub — Tai Shan — in July of 2005. Panda parents Mei Xiang and Tian Tian came to the National Zoo from the China Research and Conservation Center for the Giant Panda in Sichuan, China, as part of a collaborative agreement between the zoo and the China Wildlife Conservation Association. The National Zoo donated $10 million dollars to the CWCA toward funding research and preservation of China's wild panda habitat. In exchange, zoo researchers get to care for Mei Xiang, Tian Tian and Tai Shan and share their findings with other scientists in China and the United States.
We've learned a lot over the years about these beautiful pandas and still have quite a lot to learn as they continue to grow and mature. Here are a few clues to mom and dad's personalities and how to tell them apart.