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Pandas to remain at National Zoo - for now

- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 22, 2010

WASHINGTON | Washington's pandas have won a temporary extension to stay at the National Zoo — at least for now.

Mei Xiang and Tian Tian are on a 10-year, $10 million loan from China that expires at the end of 2010. The Smithsonian's National Zoo continues to negotiate a new agreement for panda breeding and research.

Zoo spokeswoman Karin Korpowski-Gallo said Wednesday that China has granted a temporary extension for Mei Xiang and Tian Tian to remain until a new agreement is signed. Officials expect an agreement in January.

Pandas have a long history in Washington. The first panda couple, Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing (sing-sing), arrived in 1972 and lived more than 20 years at the zoo after President Richard Nixon's historic visit to China.

 

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