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Giant panda born at San Diego Zoo leaves for new life in mountains of China

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Sunday, January 12, 2014, 7:00 PM -

A giant panda landed at Shanghai's airport Saturday morning after living at a zoo in the United States for the last four years.

Yun Zi, born at the San Diego Zoo, California in 2009, was scheduled to return to its hometown in the Wolong National Nature Reserve, southwest China's Sichuan Province, after a short stay in Shanghai.

Yun Zi, along with other giant pandas in the U.S., was on loan from the Chinese government, which has the option of calling them back to their native country before they reach age four according to a deal of the loan program.

The panda was the offspring of the adult female giant panda Bai Yun and its mate Gao Gao at the zoo, which have won popularity among the locals.

Yun in Chinese means cloud, and Zi means son. Yun Zi means "Son of Cloud", and the name was selected because its mother's name Bai Yun means "White Cloud."


SEE ALSO: Learn more about giant pandas in our weekly web-series, Endangered Species.


"[They're] getting ready to leave. People would send goodbye cards to say goodbye. nd sometimes they don't understand why they need to leave, but we say they have to go to China so that they can grow up, and have a mate, and live a normal life, because they can't get married in San Diego, because their mom and dad are there. They need to come here to get a mate," said a U.S. panda keeper

"We had access to him in the cargo area. When we took care of him, we gave him food, we check with him, make sure he had fresh water all the time. We would just talk to him and sit with him to make sure he was calm and resting through the whole way," said another U.S. panda keeper.

After arrival, Yun Zi received a physical examination by veterinarians in the quarantine area. 

"I have carefully checked. I fed it food and water. It was in good condition," said Deng Linhua, vice director of a veterinary hospital in the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda.

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