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Departure to China delayed for Atlanta-born pandas

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ATLANTA (AP) - Atlanta's zoo says the departure date has been delayed for two giant pandas born at the zoo that were set to leave for China later this month.

Five-year-old Xi Lan and 3-year-old Po were supposed to leave Nov. 24 for China's Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. Zoo Atlanta said officials decided to delay their departure following pre-shipment physical examinations.

The zoo says both pandas are healthy but delaying their departure will allow them to develop sufficient reserves for their long journey and transition period in their new home. No new departure date has been announced.

Under a deal between China and the U.S., all giant pandas originally from China are lent out to foreign zoos. They and any cubs they produce must all return to China eventually.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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