Giant panda Xiang Xiang’s return to China postponed again due to pandemic

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TOKYO, March 27 (Xinhua) — The return of Xiang Xiang, a three-year-old female giant panda born in Japan’s Ueno Zoo, to China has been postponed from May 31 to Dec. 31 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, local media reported Saturday.

This is the second time that Xiang Xiang’s return to China has been postponed.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said she had told the public May 31 would be the day to say goodbye to Xiang Xiang, but the Chinese side agreed to postpone the return date until the end of the year.

Ueno Zoo is currently closed due to the outbreak of the COVID-19. Koike said that she hopes the pandemic would be brought under control and visitors could see Xiang Xiang as soon as possible.

According to local media reports, the Tokyo metropolitan government had held consultations with the Chinese side on the return of Xiang Xiang, and decided to postpone the return date again.

Xiang Xiang was born in June 2017 to parents Ri Ri and Shin Shin, two Chinese pandas visiting Japan. As Xiang Xiang belongs to the Chinese side, it was originally planned that Xiang Xiang returns to China at the end of December 2020. Due to the pandemic, the return date was postponed to May 31 this year.

Ueno Zoo also announced Ri Ri and Shin Shin have mated for the first time in four years earlier this month. Enditem

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