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Giant panda family of five returns from Spain

By YAN DONGJIE | China Daily | Updated: 2024-03-02 08:16
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A view of a vehicle as a total of 5 pandas, 2 adults and 3 cubs are being sent off to China, which have been raised and cared for 17 years within the scope of cooperation between China and Spain, in Madrid, Spain, on Feb 29, 2024. [Photo/VCG]

Giant pandas Bing Xing and Hua Zuiba, along with their offspring Chulina, Jiu Jiu and You You, arrived in Chengdu, Sichuan province from Spain on Friday afternoon.

They are the first group of overseas giant pandas returning to China in the Year of the Dragon, and also the largest family of giant pandas to return in recent years.

The five giant pandas are in good health and about to undergo quarantine at the giant panda base in Chengdu, according to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding.

Last week, the Madrid Zoo held a farewell ceremony for the giant panda family.

In 1978, five years after the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Spain, then King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia visited China. During this visit, two giant pandas were invited to go to Spain.

Giant pandas are a unique species in China and are considered national treasures. According to statistics from the National Forestry and Grassland Administration, from 1957 to 1982, China gifted 24 giant pandas to nine countries, including the former Soviet Union, the United States and Spain, receiving warm welcome from the people of the recipient countries.

Bing Xing was born at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in 2000, and Hua Zuiba was born there in 2003. They traveled together to the Madrid Zoo in Spain in 2007.

In August 2016, Hua Zuiba gave birth to the female giant panda cub Chulina. In September 2021, the twin brothers Jiu Jiu and You You were born.

Last month, the China Wildlife Conservation Association announced that it had reached an agreement and signed a cooperation agreement with institutions such as the Madrid Zoo on a new round of international giant panda protection cooperation.

After the return of these five giant pandas, a young pair of giant pandas will soon head to the Madrid Zoo, continuing the "panda friendship" between the countries.

Since the 1990s, China has conducted giant panda conservation cooperation and research with 26 institutions in 20 countries. There have been continuous successful breeding achievements of giant pandas overseas, with a total of 68 surviving giant panda cubs.

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