Chinese giant pandas to fly to Paris

January 10th, 2012 - 8:13 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, Jan 10 (IANS) A pair of giant pandas from China’s Shichuan province will board a chartered plane coming Sunday, embarking on a journey across half the globe to Paris, Xinhua reported Tuesday.

According to Hou Rong, an expert with the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, France and China have agreed upon a deal that will see the pair staying in a French zoo for 10 years under a conservation and research programme.

Located in Shichuan, the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding is home to over 100 other pandas, including the two all set to fly to Paris, the largest city and capital of France.

Both the pandas - Yuan Zai and Huan Huan - were born in 2008. They weigh 81 and 79 kg, respectively, said Hou.

The duo will stay in the Beauval Zoo in Saint-Aignan, central France, enabling the staff to study panda breeding as well as about training the endangered species before reintroducing them into the wild, Hou said.

In case the pandas feel homesick, the zoo has built an enclosure with a style that combines both Chinese and French elements. It even bought construction materials and decorations, including traditional stone lions, from China.

Giant pandas are the world’s most endangered species. About 300 of the animals have been bred in captivity and 1,596 others live in the wild, mostly in southwest China’s Sichuan province.

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