Welcome home, American-born pandas

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China welcomed two American-born giant pandas, Mei Lan and Tai Shan, in a ceremony at the Chengdu airport in the southwestern province of Sichuan on Feb. 5. They will become part of a breeding program in their endangered species' native land.

The special plane carrying giant pandas Tai Shan and Mei Lan arrives in Chengdu, capital of southwest China's Sichuan Province. [Xinhua] 

Mei Lan, 3, will go to Chengdu Panda Breeding Research Center, where zookeepers are looking for a "Chinese language teacher" to help her adapt to China more quickly. She has lived at a zoo in Atlanta since she was born in September 2006.

Tai Shan's new home will be Bifeng Gorge Breeding Base. Born in July 2005 at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., he was supposed to come to China when he was 2, but the Chinese government agreed to postpone his return at the zoo's request. Under a deal between China and the U.S., all giant pandas originally from China and any cubs they produce must return to China eventually.

The two were treated as pop idols in the U.S., with crowds of fans and television viewers watching as they were loaded onto a special cargo jet dubbed the FedEx Panda Express.

After a month of quarantine, the two pandas will be allowed to mix with other pandas and available for public viewing.

 More about pandas:

How to Adopt Pandas

China's top two panda research centers, The Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding and The Wolong Panda Club demonstrate adoption procedures.


• Giant Panda Going Overseas 

As friendly ambassadors, 23 giant pandas were sent as state gifts to nine countries from 1953 to 1982.



• American-born Panda can follow Sichuan dialect

• Panda Taishan meets public in Sichuan

• American-born panda to meet public in Sichuan

• American-born pandas doing well in new home in China

• Chinese firm adopts American-born panda

• Welcome home, Tai Shan

• Post-quake panda cubs move into nursery

• China to find 'language teacher' for panda from U.S

• 2 giant pandas in U.S. to return to China

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