The Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute is a leader in giant panda conservation. Since 1972, the Zoo’s animal care staff and scientists have studied giant panda biology, behavior, reproduction and disease. These experts are also leading ecology research in giant pandas’ native habitat. They work closely with colleagues in China to share what they have learned in order to advance conservation efforts around the world.
Mr. Rubenstein’s donations to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute provide funds to support its giant panda program. Since 2011, Mr. Rubenstein has been donating toward the Zoo’s giant panda program. In appreciation, the giant panda complex was named the David M. Rubenstein Family Giant Panda Habitat. In addition, young conservation biologists in the U.S. and in China who were awarded Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute fellowships for their work to save this endangered species were named “David M. Rubenstein Fellows.” The gifts are used to fund conservation efforts in China, reproductive science research, professional training programs, giant panda care at the Zoo, upgrades to the Zoo habitats and public education.
“Rubenstein’s generosity “allows us to focus on one critically endangered species, but in doing so, we leverage all we learn to better manage other species in human care and in the wild.”
—DENNIS KELLY, Director of the Smithsonian’s National Zoo
Native to central China, giant pandas have come to symbolize endangered species. As few as 1,864 giant pandas live in their native habitat.
The state-of-the-art David M. Rubenstein Family Giant Panda Habitat is designed to mimic the pandas’ natural habitat of rocky, lush terrain in China. The habitat contains four yards with several enriching features. The indoor exhibit includes four rooms with quiet dens. Visitors can also watch panda cam operators in action.