People Flock to See Giant Panda Xiang Xiang on Final Day

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Giant panda Xiang Xiang is seen at the Ueno Zoo in Tokyo on Sundayon her final day for public viewing before her return to China.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — People flocked to Ueno Zoo in Tokyo to see Xiang Xiang on Sunday, the final day for public viewing for the beloved 5-year-old female giant panda before her return to China set for Tuesday.

A lottery for viewing Xiang Xiang on Sunday was held in advance, with the overall odds surpassing 20 times and the odds for the final group of viewers reaching 70 times.

Xiang Xiang was born to her mother, Shin Shin, and her father, Ri Ri, in June 2017, becoming the first giant panda born at the zoo in the Ueno district in Taito Ward in five years. Xiang Xiang was given her name in September that year.

As a giant panda born at Ueno Zoo in 2012 died six days after birth, Xiang Xiang is also the first panda to grow up after being born at the zoo since You You, born in 1988.

Xiang Xiang became very popular soon after she went on public display in December 2017, with visitors lining up to see her day in, day out. In June 2021, Xiao Xiao and Lei Lei, the twin brother and sister of Xiang Xiang, were born.

China has the ownership of Xiang Xiang as her parents are on loan from the country.

The return of Xiang Xiang to China had been originally set for December 2020. But the schedule was postponed five times due to the COVID-19 pandemic.