Cyndy Taylor, center, and her family have been visiting the National Zoo’s giant pandas for decades. From left, her aunt, Martje Jackson; her cousin, Tish Frey; her mother, Johanna Taylor; and her cousin, Mia Waddy, visit the zoo Oct. 22. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post)
Cyndy Taylor tapped her cousin, Mia Waddy, on the back and pointed at the black-and-white creature in a treeFast, informative and written just for locals. Get The 7 DMV newsletter in your inbox every weekday morning.
Taylor and Waddy gazed intently as Xiao Qi Ji, one of the National Zoo’s three giant pandas, slinked down the branches. Waddy, 49, smiled and placed a hand on Taylor’s shoulder.The 3-year-old giant panda sluggishly tumbled down a hill, his belly sunnyside up. The two women laughed.The family comes from different parts of New York and has long supported conservation efforts, they said. headtopics.com
“They are going to be loved in China,” Taylor said. “They’re going to be loved and they’ll get great care. I’m not worried about them. I’ll just miss them.”The family’s frequent visits to the bears reflect a deep-rooted love felt by many locals. When pandas first came to D.C., a 1972 Washington Post article said that visitors lined up at their enclosure,on the first day they were on display.
Taylor’s family starts every zoo visit at the panda enclosure before fanning out across the park. Her aunt, Martje Jackson, watches first-timers as they smile and point at the pandas. Nathan Frey, Taylor’s 15-year-old godson, said he spends a few minutes with the pandas before beelining for the reptile house. Tish Frey, Taylor’s cousin and Nathan’s mom, lingers behind, watching the pandas as they line up their bamboo before taking a bite. headtopics.com