What Is a Good Name for a Panda?

Since the giant panda is native to China, it is common to give pandas two-character Chinese names. These names are often the same character repeated twice such as Lun Lun, Yang Yang, Yuan Yuan or Tuan Tuan.

The Chinese characters used in panda names can reflect something about their location. For example, two of the pandas at Zoo Atlanta, Mei Lan and Xi Lan, have names that mean “Atlanta’s Beauty” and “Atlanta’s Joy.”

Giving pandas to other countries is a tool used in Chinese diplomacy. In 2008, China sent two pandas to Taiwan, which China considers to be a renegade province that should eventually reunite with the mainland. The pandas’ names were Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan. The word tuanyuan means “reunion” in Chinese to reflect the desire for an eventual reunion of the two nations.