• Kyodo News

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A pair of giant pandas leased from China will arrive at Ueno Zoo on Monday, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government said Wednesday.

The giant pandas will be the first at the zoo since panda Ling-Ling died in April 2008. Under the deal between the metropolitan government and the Chinese side, Tokyo will be able to lease the popular animals for 10 years.

The male panda, named Bili, and the female panda, named Xiannu, are both 5 years old. The metropolitan government will pay around ¥90 million each year to China in lease charges that go to fund wild animal protection.

The endangered giant panda is considered a national treasure in China and the international conservation group WWF estimates that there are around 1,600 pandas in the wild, with about 980 under protection in China’s panda reserves.

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