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Giant Pandas Get Five-Year Extension At Zoo

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Officials sign the contract to extend the giant pandas' stay at the National Zoo for another five years.
Patrick Madden
Officials sign the contract to extend the giant pandas' stay at the National Zoo for another five years.

Panda diplomacy is alive and well in Washington. The Chinese government signed a deal with the National Zoo Thursday to keep the pair of Giant pandas in D.C. for another five years.

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar called the deal a "win-win" for everyone: D.C. keeps its two most popular residents, pandas Mai Xiang and Tian Tian, the Chinese receive $10 million, and the two pandas get ample opportunities to produce another cub.

Not to put any more pressure on the pair, but the deal has a clause that says if the two aren't able to breed after two years, the zoo can swap them out for more fertile pandas.

The contract also stipulates that any baby pandas born at the zoo can now stay four years -- twice as long as before.

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