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Chinese pandas leave for Japan


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 Female panda Xian Nu looks out of the cage at Shanghai Pudong Airport in Shanghai, east China, Feb. 21, 2011. A pair of giant pandas left their home in southwest China's Sichuan Province Monday for a 10-year stay in Japan, under a joint research agreement on the endangered species. Female panda Xian Nu and male Bi Li, accompanied by two keepers from the China Giant Panda Protection and Research Center in Wolong, stopped in Shanghai before heading to Tokyo's Narita International Airport. They are scheduled to arrive Ueno Zoo at around 9 p.m.. (Xinhua/Chen Fei)

CHENGDU/TOKYO, Feb. 21 (Xinhua) -- A pair of giant pandas left their home in southwest China's Sichuan Province Monday for a 10-year stay in Japan, under a joint research agreement on the endangered species.

Female panda Xian Nu and male Bi Li left Chengdu, Sichuan's capital, on board a Sichuan Airlines passenger flight at 7:50 a.m., said a spokesman with the China Giant Panda Protection and Research Center in Wolong.

The pandas, accompanied by two keepers from Wolong, stopped in Shanghai before heading to Tokyo's Narita International Airport. They are scheduled to arrive Ueno Zoo at around 9 p.m., the spokesman said.

Panda keepers prepared 80 kg of fresh bamboo and 8 kg of dim sum for the animals to eat on the 13-hour journey.

Xian Nu and Bi Li are both aged 5 years. Pandas born in captivity can live up to 25 years.

Tokyo is rolling out the red carpet for the pair's arrival.

The Ueno Zoo was closed Monday, but a giant panda poster at its entrance caught the attention of many locals.

Source: Xinhua News
2011-02-21
Source: Xinhua News Agency
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