In October a four-year old male giant panda named Mei Sheng, whose sister is less than one hundred days, will settle down in his ancestral home, Wolong in Sichuan Province to seek a mate, according to Chinanews.
Mei Sheng was born at the San Diego Zoo on August 19, 2003. He is the first panda born through natural mating in the US. Meisheng was jointly named by the San Diego Zoo and the China Wildlife Conservation Association. His Chinese name holds a double meaning that aptly suits him: "born in the US" and "happy life".
His birth indicates that the international cooperative study of pandas has stepped into a new dimension introduced by Susan Hall, a researcher from the San Diego Zoo. Mei Sheng has thrived during his four years in America. He is a celebrity and enjoys care from the local people, who treat him as a friend and family member.
Panda offspring born in the US from pandas on loan from China must be given to China when they reach maturity, according to the panda cooperation agreement jointly signed by China and the US. Because he symbolizes Sino-US cooperation, and acts as a friendly envoy between Chinese and Americans, Mei Sheng has indeed attracted much attention. American experts will escort Mei Sheng from the San Diego Zoo to China and Chinese experts from the China Panda Research and Conservation Center will go to the US to lend a welcoming hand as well. All relevant procedures regarding the panda's return have almost been completed. A special segregation Quarantine field has been set up and a nursing staff has also been arranged.
China has carefully planned Mei Sheng's return and made many elaborate preparations to welcome him. The China Panda Research and Conservation Center have organized Mei Sheng's debut in China, including an enthusiastic and grand welcoming ceremony as part of his homecoming.
Mei Sheng is scheduled to arrive by plane to Shanghai on the evening of October 30. He will be airlifted to the Chengdu Shuangliu Airport at noon on October 31. Finally, he will arrive at the China Panda Research and Conservation Center in the afternoon, attend his welcoming ceremony and then he'll be put into a segregated inspection area. Mei Sheng will be kept in quarantine for a month; afterwards he'll begin his new life.
(China.org.cn, by Yang Xi October 14, 2007)