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Taipei zoo welcomes mainland panda pair
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The Taipei zoo held a welcoming ceremony Tuesday morning for its new residents -- a pair of giant pandas offered by the Chinese mainland to Taiwan.

The four-year-old pandas, Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan, were "getting on well with the new environment" and were in good physical and psychological condition, said zoo spokesman Jason S.C. Chin.

The pandas arrived in Taipei from their hometown in southwestern Sichuan Province after hours of road and air trip. The Taipei zoo did not hold any welcoming ceremony Tuesday night as the rare animals were "probably tired from the journey".

Taipei mayor Hau Lung-bin reassured mainland people that "we will definitely take good care of Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan so that they could have a healthy and happy life here and give birth to babies soon."

Zhao Xuemin, head of the mainland delegation sending the pair to Taipei, said relevant mainland departments "will not hesitate to offer technical support".

Zhao then presented Hau the pandas' gene file at the ceremony.

For the panda pair's first meal in their new home, the zoo prepared a specially-made menu including Sichuan bamboos carried from the pair's birthplace, bamboos grown in Taiwan and 1.2 kg of steamed corn bread blended with both Sichuan and Taiwan flavors.

The zoo's feeders had traveled to the Wolong panda breeding base in Sichuan Province to learn how to make the bread for one of the world's most endangered mammal.

About 20 experts and two of the pair's hometown keepers went to Taipei together with the pandas. They brought a week's amount of food, including more than 400 kg of bamboo, pandas' staple food.

(Xinhua News Agency December 24, 2008)

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