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This panda is hungry! D.C. zoo runs low on bamboo

Attention D.C. residents: You know that bamboo plant livening up your office? It’s needed for panda food. The National Zoo has run critically low on bamboo and might run out before the winter ends. The zoo harvests bamboo on its premises and at other locations in the area, but for unknown reasons, the stands aren’t ...

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Attention D.C. residents: You know that bamboo plant livening up your office? It’s needed for panda food.

The National Zoo has run critically low on bamboo and might run out before the winter ends. The zoo harvests bamboo on its premises and at other locations in the area, but for unknown reasons, the stands aren’t regrowing normally.

On Jan. 14, the zoo issued a public appeal for bamboo donations for Tian Tian, Mei Xiang, Tai Shan, who munch through 1,400 pounds (635 kg) of the crunchy stalks weekly.

The three furry balls of cuteness are on loan from China. Let’s hope this bamboo shortage doesn’t adversely affect U.S.-China relations. Fortunately, there are some promising signs: The zoo has received many offers since issuing its appeal. However, for the bamboo to be accepted, it must meet specific criteria:

  • Cover at least an acre
  • Be within 25 to 30 miles from the zoo
  • Grow at least 100 feet from roads
  • Be free of herbicides and pesticides

By the way, check out the panda cam.

KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images

Preeti Aroon was copy chief at Foreign Policy from 2009 to 2016 and was an FP assistant editor from 2007 to 2009. Twitter: @pjaroonFP

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