KOBE – A new male panda that will soon arrive at Kobe’s Oji Zoo will locally be known by the same name as his predecessor, Koko, the municipal zoo said Monday.
The 7-year-old Long Long will replace 6-year-old Koko, who will be sent back to China because of his lack of reproductive tendencies.
The original Koko came to Japan in July 2000 with Dan Dan, a female panda, under a Japanese-Chinese reproduction research program. His name, chosen from public suggestions, means recovery (“fukko”) from the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake, which wreaked havoc on the port city.
The city decided to name the new panda Koko because the “original” Koko will take his original name of Jinzhu when he returns to China, zoo officials said.
The new Koko will arrive Dec. 9 and be shown to the public starting Dec. 21.
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