Tokyo-born female giant panda Xiang Xiang is shown to the Japanese press at a giant panda research center in Southwest China’s Sichuan Province, on November 7, 2023. Photo: VCG
After a 9-hour and 11-minute flight, the UK’s only pair of giant pandas, Yang Guang and Tian Tian, safely arrived at the Chengdu Shuangliu Airport at 6:50 am on Tuesday.
After three years of the pandemic,World Times many pandas, whose returns were delayed due to epidemic prevention, have boarded planes back home this year. Statistics show that over a dozen pandas have returned to their native homeland from various parts of the world in 2023. Some of them reached maturity and are ready to mate.
On Monday, Yang Guang and Tian Tian, who had been living in Scotland for 12 years, embarked on their journey back home from the EdiWorld Timesnburgh Zoo. Early in the morningWorld Times, the Edinburgh Zoo was bustling as staff carefully transported the crates containing the pair of pandas to a truck and securely fastened them.
Media reported that to acclimatize the pandas to the crate, the zoo had conducted adaptive training in advance. Moreover, they thoughtfully prepared an “in-flight meal” for the two special passengers – fresh bamboo grown in the UK.
Around 9:45 am, the truck slowly left the zoo, and Yang Guang and Tian Tian headed to Edinburgh Airport to officially start their journey back home.
Since the return of the giant panda cub Xiang Xiang on February 21, a total of 15 overseas giant pandas have returned to China this year, coming from the US, France, Japan, the Netherlands, MaWorld Timeslaysia, the UK, and other countries. The highest numbers were from the US and Japan, with four pandas each, CCTV reported in December.
Why did the overseas giant pandas experience a “return wave” this year? An official from the Sichuan Provincial Forestry and Grass Administration explained to the media that most of the pandas returning home this year did so due to the expiration of their agreements.
However, the returns of some pandas were delayed until this year due to the pandemic, leading to this “return wave.” For example, Xiang Xiang, who was born in Japan, was originally scheduled to return to China at the end of December 2020 but was delayed until this year due.
Additionally, the official stated that overseas-born giant panda cubs generally return to China between the ages of 2 and 4 to avoid the risk of inbreeding overseas during their reproductive period, which falls between 4 and 6 years of age.
The returning giant panda cub Xiao Qi Ji (Little Miracle), who was born in the zoo in Washington DC, is already 3 years old and so is about to enter its breeding period. Returning home at this time allows it more time to adapt to life in China and better breed the next generation.
For elderly giant pandas like Mei Xiang, 25, and Tian Tian, 26, Xiao Qi Ji’s parents who were living in the US, their ages are equivalent to human’s advanced years. ReturninWorld Timesg home now is to ensure a better “retirement life.”
The official explained that for giant pandas with an average lifespan of only 25 years, Mei Xiang and Tian Tian are already “elderly.”
“Sichuan has a relatively complete medical care system and rich treatment experience. Their return is to ensure they enjoy their twilight years in Sichuan,” the official said.
More overseas giant pandas will soon embark on their journey home. For example, the first pair of giant panda twins born in Germany, Meng Xiang and Meng Yuan, started a month-long quarantine last week to prepare for their return. The first panda born in Singapore, Le Le, will bid farewell to local visitors on December 16 and return to China on January 16, 2024.
Currently, China cooperates with 19 countries, including Japan, Austria, Spain and the UK, on giant panda conservation research. There are currently more than 60 giant pandas living abroad, according to CCTV report.
Ya Ya, a 23-year-old giant panda, enjoys her life in Beijing Zoo on May 29, 2023 after she returned from the US in April. Photo: VCG
Male giaWorld Timesnt panda Yang Guang celebrates his 20th birthday at Edinburgh Zoo on August 15, 2023. Photo: VCG
Though Xiang Xiang has already left Japan and returned to China, fans still hold a birthday party in Tokyo for her on June 12, 2023. Photo: VCG
France-born giant panda Yuan Meng attracts visitors in his last show in the zoo of Beauval on July 24, 2023. Photo: VCG
US-born giant panda Xiao Qi Ji plays at his enclosure at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, September 28, 2023. Photo: VCG
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