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January 5, 2010

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'Perfect 10' pandas set to take Shanghai by storm

Ten pandas, special guests to coincide with the Shanghai 2010 World Expo, will arrive in the city today.

They will set off from southwest China's Sichuan Province this morning and reach Shanghai's Hongqiao International Airport in the evening.

After breakfast about 8am, the four males and six females will leave the Bifengxia Base of the Wolong Giant Panda Reserve Center in Ya'an City.

They will arrive at Shuangliu International Airport in the provincial capital of Chengdu about 2pm and head to Shanghai on a chartered flight.

Hongqiao airport will open an emergency passageway as the vehicles for transporting pandas are too big to go through common thoroughfares.

Four carers and a veterinarian with the center will accompany the pandas to Shanghai. All 10 pandas were born after the massive earthquake in Sichuan Province in May 2008.

"We feel great pressure," said Xu Yalin, a carer with the center.

"We are most concerned about whether the pandas will be able to adapt to the environment and climate in Shanghai."

Shanghai Zoo, which will first host the pandas, said it was ready to welcome the "national treasures."

The zoo has established a new panda home for them, covering about 560 square meters.

A 190-square-meter indoor entertainment complex is the biggest site of its kind in Shanghai. It will lead to a six-room "dormitory" for the pandas.

Zoo officials said as the bamboo grown in Shanghai is different from that of Sichuan, it had developed two growing plots in Songjiang District and Zhejiang Province's Anji.

The pandas are expected to go on public show at the end of the month after an isolation period for quarantine and inspection.

The 10 pandas, a promotional coup for the Expo, will stay in the zoo for six months and move to Shanghai Wildlife Park in the second half year.


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