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Taiwan children start mainland panda tour
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09:33, July 05, 2009

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A group of 19 underprivileged Taiwan children flew to Chengdu of the Chinese mainland's Sichuan Province Saturday at the start of a tour to study pandas.

Zhang Yun, general manager of the Taiwan Office of the mainland-based Air China, which sponsored the tour, said the middle school children were from southwest Taiwan's Chiayi County and were selected for their academic excellence.

During the six-day visit, they will see pandas up close, travel to the Mount E'mei scenic area and meet local schoolchildren.

In April, Air China's Taiwan Office sponsored a trip by 107 underprivileged primary schoolchildren from Chiayi to see giant pandas "Tuan Tuan" and "Yuan Yuan" in the Taipei City Zoo.

The pandas, whose names together mean "reunion" in Chinese, arrived at the zoo on Dec. 23 last year as gifts from the mainland.

The pair have attracted more than 1 million visitors since their public debut on Jan. 26.

Giant pandas are among the world's most endangered animals. About 1,590 pandas live in China's wild, mostly in Sichuan and the northwestern provinces of Shaanxi and Gansu.

Source: Xinhua

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