France to get pandas on loan from China

Dec. 3, 2011 at 12:44 PM

PARIS, Dec. 3 (UPI) -- France will receive two pandas on loan from China in early 2012, officials say.

The pair, set to be in France for 10 years, will be the first pandas sent to France since the death of Yen Yen in 2000, Radio France Internationale reported Saturday.

The pandas, which will come from a breeding center in the Chinese city of Chengud, will live at the Beauval Zoo in central France as part of a conservation and research program.

Rodolphe Delord, the director of Beauval Zoo, said an official agreement on the program would be signed soon, after five years of negotiations between the two countries.

China has sent endangered giant pandas as diplomatic gifts to many countries in recent years, including the United States, Thailand, Singapore, Spain, Austria and Japan.

Two giant pandas from China are set to arrive Sunday at the Edinburgh Zoo in Scotland on a 10-year loan.

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