Ueno Zoo’s Giant Panda Xiang Xiang Turns 5

Courtesy of Tokyo Tokyo Zoological Park Society
‘Xiang Xiang’, a female giant panda in the ‘Tokyo Ueno Zoo’ on May 23, 2022.

Tokyo, June 12 (Jiji Press)—Xiang Xiang, a female giant panda at Tokyo’s Ueno Zoo, turned five years old on Sunday.

While the zoo has no plan to hold a related event on the day, it will release on YouTube a video of Xiang Xiang taken in advance to celebrate her birthday.

Xiang Xiang was initially scheduled to be returned to China in June 2019. But the timing of the return was delayed by one and a half years after negotiations.

After that, the deadline was extended four times due to the impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic. Xiang Xiang is currently set to go back to China by the end of December this year.

Following a temporary closure due to the viral spread, Ueno Zoo in Tokyo’s Taito Ward reopened in March this year, first only for visitors with reservations. The zoo dropped the requirement for reservations on May 24.

While the zoo still allows only people picked by lottery to view twin giant panda cubs born at the zoo last year, Xiang Xiang can be viewed by any visitor. The cubs, Xiao Xiao and Lei Lei, are Xiang Xiang’s brother and sister.

On June 20, the zoo plans to hold an event to celebrate the twin pandas’ first birthday.