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Mainland panda pair arrive in Taiwan
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Mainland panda pair arrive in Taiwan

Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan areadapting to the new environment.

"I am sure the panda house will be the most popular exhibit in the zoo when Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan finish their quarantine," said a woman surnamed Lin at the zoo's media reception department.

The Taipei city government said in a statement that the pair are expected to attract about 6 million visitors to the zoo annually, double the current number.

"Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan will be a valuable New Year gift for Taiwan. Parents have an interesting story to tell their kids and kids will have a joyful thing to do next year," said the United Daily News in an editorial Tuesday. "Their arrival here has a greater significance, that is, the peace they stand for."

The zoo administration has no plan to change the bears' names, which together mean "reunion" in Chinese, Chin said.

Feeders aboard the plane told Xinhua that the bears did experience airsickness during nearly three-hour flight. They took an hour's nap after take-off and then took some food and water.

After landing at the airport in Taipei, the pair were in good physical and psychological condition, the feeders said.

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 also 1.2 kg of steamed corn bread blended by 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.

The pair were transported to Chengdu from the Bifeng Gorge Base in Ya'an, Sichuan early Tuesday. They had been transferred there in June after the May 12 strong quake which damaged their former home in Wolong.

Before the departure from Ya'an, the pandas had their breakfast - carrots and steamed corn buns. Hundreds of locals came to bid farewell to the lovable animals.

About 20 experts and two of the pair's original keepers were on the flight to Taiwan. They brought a week's worth of food, including more than 400 kg of bamboo, pandas' staple food.

The first proposal to present a panda pair to the island was made in 1983 by Ms. Liu Caipin, a deputy from Taiwan to the sixth National People's Congress, China's top legislature.

"After more than twenty years of waiting, my dream has finally come true," Liu, now a 71-year-old Chinese living in Japan, told Xinhua by telephone when learning of the panda pair's arrival in Taiwan on Tuesday.

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