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|Thursday, December 07, 2000, updated at 22:06(GMT+8)|
Chinese Pandas to Get Married in USTwo Chinese giant pandas, "Mei Xiang" and "Tian Tian," will get married in the United States, revealed Dennis Connor, an senior official with the Smithsonian's National Zoo located in Washington D.C. of the United States.
"But we haven't decided whether to host a wedding ceremony for them," Conner said at a press conference.
He said the two pandas arrived at Dulles International Airport in Washington at 2:59 p.m. on December 6 (local time), one minute ahead of schedule. "They seemed a little tired probably for time difference," Conner said.
The female giant panda, Mei Xiang, which means "beautiful fragrance," and her fiance, Tian Tian, which means "more and more," were born at the China Research an Conservation Center for the Giant Panda, respectively on July 22, 1998 and August 27, 1997.
The two guests will live in the United States for 10 years and the zoo will contribute 1 million U.S. dollars to the China Wildlife Conservation Association for the long-term loan of the pandas.
"To put the two giant pandas in the zoo is not just for attracting visitors, it is more essential that they can help educate American people to know the importance of environment protection," said Conner.
Responding to the question raised by an American reporter whether the children of "Mei Xiang" and "Tian Tian" will become "American citizens" or not, Conner emphasized that they and their children will belong to Chinese people forever.
The two pandas, taking a FedEx MD-11 jet, left their hometown, the China Research and Conservation Center for the Giant Panda at Wolong of southwest China's Sichuan province, for the United States at 11:00 a.m. on December 6 (Beijing Time).
In 1972, the People's Republic of China presented the Smithsonian's National Zoo with two young pandas. They became the most popular residents of the zoo in Washington and retained that status till they died. Ling Ling, the female, passed away in 1992 at the age of 23 of heart failure, and Xing Xing, the male, died in 1999 from kidney disease. None of their offspring survived.
In addition to "Mei Xiang" and "Tian Tian," there are five Chinese pandas in the United States, three in San Diego and two in Atlanta.
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