TOKYO: Xiang Xiang, the hugely popular female giant panda at Tokyo’s Ueno Zoo, turned 4 years old on Saturday.
Shin Shin, the 15-year-old mother of Xiang Xiang, is showing signs of pregnancy. If Shin Shin gives birth, Xiang Xiang will become an older sister.
Ueno Zoo in the Japanese capital’s Taito Ward reopened on June 4, with reservations required for visits, after being closed to the public since late last year following the spread of novel coronavirus infections.
It is celebrating Xiang Xiang’s birthday by uploading on its website videos looking back on her growth, instead of holding an event amid the epidemic.
Yoko Yamaguchi, a 51-year-old corporate worker from Hadano, Kanagawa Prefecture, south of Tokyo, was not able to book an entry ticket for Saturday but came to the zoo. She said she still wants to “enjoy the atmosphere.”
“I’d like to say ‘congratulations’ if a younger brother or sister (of Xiang Xiang) is born,” Yamaguchi said. “But I have a bit of mixed feelings as (Xiang Xiang) may return to China.”
As of June 5, Xiang Xiang weighed 91.2 kilograms, according to the zoo.
The cub was initially scheduled to be returned to China when she turned 2 years old. But the timing of the return was delayed by one and half years after negotiations.
The deadline was extended again to the end of this year due to the impact from the novel coronavirus.