2 pandas munching bamboo amid French chateaux

AP News
Posted: Jan 17, 2012 12:36 PM
2 pandas munching bamboo amid French chateaux

The first giant pandas France has seen in more than a decade are happily munching bamboo in their new home.

Yuan Zi, a boy, and Huan Huan, a girl, arrived on a 10-year loan from China this week. On Tuesday the endangered animals were brought to the Zoo Parc de Beauval, amid the chateaux of the Loire Valley.

More than 1,000 local residents waited outside to try to get a glimpse of their arrival.

Zoo co-owner Delphine Delord said they will "live here the life of stars."

Their main mission, though, is to reproduce. "What we want is children," she said.

The visit is the latest example of China's "panda diplomacy," aimed at building friends and influence in other countries. Last month, two pandas from China debuted at Scotland's Edinburgh Zoo.