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Japan-born panda twins to return to China
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Two male pandas born in Japan four years ago will become the first overseas-born twin pandas ever to come to China next week.

Ryuhin and Shuhin are due to leave Osaka, Japan at 3:30 AM (Beijing time) on October 27, stay in Beijing overnight and arrive at Chengdu, capital of southwest China's Sichuan Province, the following day, Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding announced on Wednesday.

They would be quarantined in a newly-built house at the base for two to three months, when they would adapt to the new environment before being shown to visitors, said Huang Xiangming, curator of the animal management department with the base.

The pair were born on September 8, 2003, to Yong Ming and Mei Mei, which the research base leased to the Adventure World Park Zoo in western Japan's Wakayama prefecture in 1994 and 2000 respectively under a Sino-Japanese cooperation program on giant panda breeding.

China has carried out long-term cooperation programs on giant panda breeding with Japan, the United States and Spain since 1994. The first overseas-born panda Hua Mei came to China from the United States in 2004.

According to China's policy, cubs born overseas by pandas on loan must be sent to China after they become sexually mature or the cooperation ends.

Giant pandas are one of the most endangered species in the world. There are only 1,590 giant pandas living in the wild, most of them in southwest China's mountainous regions.

By the end of 2006, about 210 giant pandas lived in captivity in China.

(Xinhua News Agency October 18, 2007)

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