Giant pandas headed from China to San Francisco zoo

The San Francisco Zoo is set to receive a pair of giant pandas under a memorandum of understanding signed Thursday by Mayor London Breed and the China Wildlife Conservation Association.

The announcement that pandas would be coming to the zoo did not include a timeline, but the mayor's office said it would hinge on completion of a panda enclosure. Planning has begun and engineers from the Beijing Zoo traveled to the city to meet with zoo engineers the week, according to Breed.

In the 1980s, the zoo temporarily hosted pandas from China as part of a global tour, but Thursday's announcement marks the first official lease agreement for the rare animals to reside at San Francisco Zoo. 

Breed said having pandas at the zoo "will strengthen our already deep cultural connection and honors our Chinese and API heritage that is core to San Francisco's history."