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Mei Mei, crested ibis from China, lays 1st egg in Japan.

NIIGATA, Japan, March 26 Kyodo

Mei Mei, a crested ibis donated to Japan from China last October, has laid her first egg at a preservation center on Sado Island, Niigata Prefecture, prefectural officials said Monday.

Mei Mei has been mated with Yu Yu at the Sado Crested Ibis Conservation Center in the Sea of Japan. Under an accord of the two countries to preserve the endangered species, their first chick would be sent to China and the second would stay in Japan.

Mei Mei was born April 10, 1999 at a crested ibis preservation center in China's Shaanxi Province, while Yu Yu was born in Japan in May that year to Yang Yang and You You, which were a gift from Chinese President Jiang Zemin to Emperor Akihito on the occasion of the president's visit to Japan in 1998.

Although the scientific name for crested ibises is Nipponia Nippon, the birds are virtually extinct in the country. Only one ibis born in the wild in Japan remains -- a female named Kin thought to be 33 years old, who is kept at the Sado center.
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Publication:Japan Weekly Monitor
Date:Apr 2, 2001
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