A pair of Chinese giant pandas arrived in South Korea Thursday on a 15-year lease, marking the first time in 22 years that the endangered bear species enters the South Korean territory for joint research purpose.
Yuan Xin, a three-year-old male, and Hua Ni, a two-year-old female, arrived at the Incheon International Airport at around 2:20 p.m. local time (0520GMT) by a special flight of South Korea’s main flagship carrier Korean Air from China’s southwestern city of Chengdu.
The South Korean panda pair received new names on their arrival: Le Bao (male) and Ai Bao (female).
The lease was put on one of agendas during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to South Korea in July 2014 when Xi agreed with his South Korean counterpart Park Geun-hye to cooperate in panda research. The lease was confirmed during Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to Seoul last year.
China had previously loaned a pair of pandas to South Korea in 1994, but they were returned back to their home country in 1998 when Seoul suffered from the Asian foreign exchange crisis.
To welcome the pair’s arrival in their new home, a celebratory event was held at the airport. The event was attended by hundreds of journalists and officials from both countries, including Chinese Ambassador to South Korea Qiu Guohong, South Korea’s vice environment minister Jeong Yeon-man and ruling Saenuri Party lawmaker Lee Woo-hyun.
The pair of pandas will live in the 3,300-square-meter Panda World at Everland, South Korea’s largest theme park about 40 km from capital Seoul in Yongin.
Everland has installed thermostatic and humidity equipment and planted familiar trees in Panda World to simulate the environment in Sichuan.
The pair will be unveiled to the public from April after a one-month period of adjustment to new environment. During the transitional period, they will be fed with Sichuan bamboo taken from the region.
Source: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2016-03/03/c_135152973.htm http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/photo/2016-03/03/c_135152768.htm