Panda mum thrilled to have Feng Yi staying in Malaysia

Panda mum thrilled to have Feng Yi staying in Malaysia

CHENGDU - When female panda Feng Yi touches down in Malaysia, there will be a familiar face waiting for her among the excited crowd.

Chin Chet Mooi, 55, has been "adopting" the panda since September 2006 via a Colorado-based non-profit organisation, Pandas International.

"I am excited that Feng Yi is coming to Malaysia. I am happy that she will be nearer (to me). Isn't she gorgeous?" gushed Chin as she watched the panda at the Dujiangyan panda base here in Sichuan province.

Chin, who cites her occupation as a freelance proof editor, arrived at Dujiangyan a day before the eight-year-old Feng Yi, along with her male companion Fu Wa, were scheduled to depart for their new home in Zoo Negara.

She left Sichuan last night, slightly ahead of the pandas' departure, to wait at the MASKargo complex to welcome the animals.

Chin said she signed up to be a Zoo Negara volunteer when she found out that the pandas would be housed in a special enclosure there.

"It would be overkill to say I will be visiting the pandas every day but it will (definitely) be every weekend.

"I don't know yet what I will be assigned to do as a volunteer, but I hope I will be able to help out in the giant panda exhibit - helping visitors, answering questions - and do my part in supporting this loan agreement in a positive way," she said.

Like any proud parent, Chin's face lit up at the mention of Feng Yi and she was more than happy to show photos and videos of the panda on her tablet device.

She was also heard calling out to Feng Yi in the enclosure, where the animal had been quarantined since relocating from the China Conservation and Research Centre for the Giant Panda in Ya'an in February, to "come closer and take a photo with Mum".

Chin said she was looking forward to Feng Yi giving birth to a panda cub in Malaysia.

"Feng Yi surprised many when she delivered a male cub in August last year. She has a strong mothering instinct and the panda base gave her another female cub to look after," she said.

Besides Feng Yi, Chin has "adopted" another female panda, Gong Zhu, and Feng Yi's cub, Gong Gong.

Participants in the shared adoption programme pay US$1,000 (S$1,252) for new adoptions and US$800 for renewals.

The contribution covers the cost of veterinary care, medicine and vitamins, daily meals of the pandas and the caretakers at the panda bases.

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