2 giant pandas arrive in their new French home

AP News
Posted: Jan 15, 2012 9:03 AM

Two giant pandas have arrived from China aboard a special plane and are heading to their new home amid the chateaux of central France.

Male Yuan Zi and female Huan Huan are France's first pandas since the death of one more than a decade ago.

The endangered animals get only the best: Their "Panda Express" plane, specially configured for their enclosures, was greeted with applause at the Paris airport.

On loan from China, Yuan Zi ("chubby" in Chinese) and Huan Huan ("happy") will live at the Zoo Parc de Beauval, in the Loire valley, for 10 years.

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.