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Pandas to stay at the San Diego Zoo

December 18, 2008 |  3:01 pm


The loan of giant pandas from China to the San Diego Zoo has been extended -- and at a lower price.

Zoo officials and a Chinese diplomat announced Thursday that the loan agreement that began in 1996 is being extended for at least five years. The annual fee has been slashed from $1 million to $500,000, which will be used to rebuild the Wolong panda preserve damaged in the May 12 earthquake in China.

The five-year extension covers the adults, Bai Yun and Gao Gao. Two pandas born at the zoo must be sent to China when they reach 4 years of age.

China is also extending agreements with other U.S. zoos that have pandas: Atlanta, Washington and Memphis.

-- Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: Two of the four pandas at the San Diego Zoo. Credit: San Diego Zoo

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