Panda pair readying for Malaysia

Panda pair readying for Malaysia

CHENGDU - Feng Yi and Fu Wa, the two giant pandas that will be loaned to Malaysia, are now in quarantine to prepare for their departure.

They were relocated from the Ya'an base of China Conservation and Research Centre for the Giant Panda (CCRCGP) to the Dujiangyan base, both in China's Sichuan province, in late February.

During The Star's recent visit to the Dujiangyan base, the pair was seen enjoying the fresh air in the outdoor compound of their respective enclosures.

The female panda, Feng Yi, sat on the floor and munched bamboos, paying no attention to a camera that was clicking away.

She savoured the crunchy bamboos, shredding the plants into smaller pieces with her teeth.

Next door, Fu Wa was having his morning exercise, strolling within the open air area and even breaking into a little jog at one point.

As human contact with the pandas has to be minimised, all photos were taken through glass panels.

According to the website of CCRCGP, Feng Yi and Fu Wa have just undergone full body checks on April 2 and both were given a clean bill of health.

The eight-year-olds, born on the same day on Aug 23, 2006, are set to depart for Malaysia soon for a 10-year assignment.

The loan was secured when Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak made the request to then Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.

The pandas' arrival soon will be a meaningful event to mark the 40th anniversary of bilateral ties between Malaysia and China next month.

Their abode in Malaysia is at an enclosure in Zoo Negara, which cost RM25mil (S$9.6 million) to build.

In August last year, Feng Yi became a first-time mum when she gave birth to a male cub. The baby is now being kept at the Ya'an base.

In addition to Ya'an and Dujiangyan, CCRCGP also has a Wolong base. These three bases play important roles in giant panda breeding, reintroduction, international cooperation, public education, scientific research and conservation.

As at last year, CCRCGP has a total of 187 giant pandas in all three bases.

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