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Yuan Zi And Huan Huan, 2 Pandas, Munch Bamboo In France (PHOTOS)


First Posted: 01/17/12 12:37 PM ET Updated: 01/17/12 04:26 PM ET

PARIS (AP) — 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.

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Viewed through a glass panel, male panda Yuan Zia, right, and female Panda Huan Huan, eat bamboo at the Zoo Parc de Beauval in Saint-Aignan, central France, on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012. The pair of giant pandas arrived in France from a Chinese reserve on Sunday Jan. 15, and are scheduled to spend 10-years in the Parc de Beauval, where they hope the pair will reproduce and help boost the world's dwindling panda population.(AP Photo/Michel Euler)
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