2 Pandas Leave China To Start New Life In France

Published January 15, 2012 10:27AM (EST)

BEIJING (AP) — Two giant pandas have left China to start a new life in France.

A specially chartered plane carrying female panda Huan Huan and male Yuan Zai took off from southwest Chengdu city on Sunday.

The pair will spend 10 years at Beauval zoo in central France under a conservation and research agreement between China and France, according to Xinhua News Agency.

It will be the first time in more than 10 years that giant pandas have resided in France.

Zoo visitors will be able to see the 3-year-old pandas starting Feb. 11.

China has long used "panda diplomacy" to make friends and influence people in other countries. Last month, two pandas from China debuted at Scotland's Edinburgh Zoo.

Pandas are an endangered species.

By Salon Staff

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