Kobe to Return Giant Panda to China
Kobe, May 20 (Jiji Press)--The city of Kobe, western Japan, said Tuesday that it will return a female giant panda to China as her lease expires on July 15.
The panda, Tan Tan, came to Kobe Oji Zoo in Hyogo Prefecture in 2000 in response to a request made by the then Kobe mayor after the city was hit hard by a massive earthquake in 1995.
Tan Tan came to the zoo under a 10-year lease but her stay had been extended even after her breeding partner, Kou Kou, died.
Kobe has asked for another extension, but the Chinese side said the aging panda should be taken care of at a place with a better natural environment, according to city officials.
Tan Tan is set to be sent to a conservation research center in Sichuan Province. But the timing has yet to be decided as direct flights to the province have been halted due to the coronavirus pandemic.
[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]