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Tokyo: Lottery system to see panda twins at Ueno Zoo ends

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Twin giant panda cubs Xiao Xiao, above, and Lei Lei are seen at Ueno Zoo in Taito Ward, Tokyo, on Tuesday.

Ueno Zoo in Tokyo’s Taito Ward began Tuesday allowing visitors to see twin giant panda cubs that were born in June last year without obtaining a special admission ticket through a lottery on the zoo’s official website.

Fans of the twin cubs — male Xiao Xiao and female Lei Lei — gathered in front of the breeding facility where the animals live immediately after the park opened at 9:30 a.m. that day. After entering the facility, the visitors took pictures of the twins holding bamboo shoots and lying on the ground.

“Xiao Xiao came near me at the glass wall and was very cute,” said Akiko Nagata, a pharmacist from Samukawa, Kanagawa Prefecture. “Seeing how big they are cheered me up.”

The daily number of visitors who can observe the cubs had been limited to 4,400 since viewing began in January as a measure to reduce stress on the animals, and visitors were chosen by lottery.

However, the policy was changed to first come, first served due to their healthy growth.

Viewing hours are from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and the zoo will announce via Twitter when waiting times take longer than usual.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
The giant panda family at Ueno Zoo in Taito Ward, Tokyo, on Tuesday.