Two male pandas born in Japan four years ago by leased parents
from China will become the first overseas-born twin pandas ever to
come back 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.
Both Ryuhin, weighing 96.4 kilograms, and Shuhin, at 102.4
kilograms, were healthy, said Huang Xiangming, curator of the
Animal Management Department with the base.
A group of Chinese experts and government officials will leave
for Japan on Monday to oversee the transfer and ensure the travel
conditions are appropriate.
A farewell ceremony will be held in Japan before their
departure, and ten members of the public, selected from 300
candidates, will accompany them.
The pandas 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.
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
They are the first pair of captive twin cubs raised by a mother
panda instead of by humans, according to the research base.
Female pandas giving birth to twins tend to feed the stronger
one and abandon the other, but Mei Mei nurtured both, said
Mei Mei has given birth to nine cubs in Japan and seven
survived, making their family the largest abroad.
China sent 24 giant pandas to nine countries as gifts between
1957 to 1982 and five of their offspring are still alive.
The government stopped the program in 1985 and launched
long-term cooperation on giant panda breeding with Japan, the
United States and Spain in 1994, since when, 25 pandas have been
leased to the countries.
According to cooperation agreement, cubs born overseas by pandas
on loan belong to China and should be returned to China after they
become sexually mature or the cooperation ends. The first
overseas-born panda Hua Mei came to China from the United States in
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
(Xinhua News Agency October 18, 2007)