The 22-year-old panda was born in China in 1985 and made his debut at the Tokyo zoo in 1992.Â Â He was the only giant panda the countryÂ held in captivity in nationwide zoos. Ling Ling’s 22 years is equal to about 70 in human years.
After centuries of conflict between China and Japan, the gift of Ling Ling was seen as a gesture of good will and faith toward normalizing relations between the two countries. Now that Ling Ling has passed away, the Japanese government has asked China to lease one or two new pandas to wet an appetite of a Japanese citizenry that can’t get enough of the lovable giants.
Japan’s prime minister is set to welcome Chinese President Hu Jinatao to Tokyo this week and hopes to sign a deal to secure two more pandas in the very near future.
Japan’s Ling Ling is not to be confused with the Ling Ling the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. had forÂ 20 years until her death in 1992.