The actor's stuffed panda companions on the Oscars red carpet are part of his conservation efforts with the giant animals

By Alex Heigl
February 27, 2017 05:00 PM
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Credit: Al Powers/Invision/AP

Jackie Chan has a long and historic career in films, and he’s as passionate about panda conservation as he was about his death-defying stunt work during his heyday.

“I’m the ambassador of [the] panda,” Chan explained, showing off the two stuffed pandas he was toting on the Oscars red carpet Sunday night. After earthquake, they get hurt and I raise them. I have two pandas in China, my own. They go wherever I go. They meet all the famous people.”

Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty

Chan wasn’t kidding: In May 2009, he visited the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, a year after a devastating earthquake ravaged the Sichuan region. Chan claimed the first time he’d actually seen a panda up close was in a Berlin zoo in 1999, and he said that looking at the animal made him forget about all his worries.

Moved by the animals’ plight after the earthquake, Chan donated nearly $150,000 to the facility and became the “adoptive parent” of two panda cubs born shortly after the earthquake. He named them “Cheng Cheng” and “Long Long,” after his Chinese name, Cheng Long. His stuffed pandas, meanwhile, are named Chan La and Chan Zy.

Chan was named the Chengdu base’s “Panda Ambassador” after his donation and adoption of the pandas, and he proceeded to start taking La & Zy all over the world with him, beginning in 2010 while he was promoting The Karate Kid. He apparently has plans to auction them for charity — that is, if he can ever bear to part with them.