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Mainland to Present Another Pair of Pandas to HK
    2007-01-10 10:16:56     Xinhua

Related: HK Prepares to Receive New Pair of Giant Pandas

               Hong Kong to Receive Two New Giant Pandas

China's central government will present another pair of pandas to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) to mark the 10th anniversary of its return to China, according to the State Forestry Administration in Beijing on Wednesday.


The pandas will meet the Hong Kong public in the first half of the year, said administration spokesperson Cao Qingyao.


The mainland presented the first pair of pandas, "An An" and "Jia Jia", to Hong Kong in 1999.


The Hong Kong SAR government requested a second pair of pandas last September. The State Council approved the request two months later.


Cao said the administration will select a pair of "lively, healthy, young" pandas for Hong Kong.


The giant panda is one of the world's most endangered species and is found only in China. Experts estimate that there are about 1,600 pandas living in the wild. The vast majority -- about 1,100 -- live in one of the 59 nature reserves that China had set up for pandas by the end of 2006.


As for the pair of pandas selected as a gift for Taiwan compatriots last year, Cao said they are in good health and "everything is ready".


The pair, named "Tuan Tuan" and "Yuan Yuan" by the Chinese public -- meaning union -- are living in southwestern Sichuan province. The male panda Tuan Tuan now weighs 78 kilograms, and Yuan Yuan, the female panda, weighs 80 kilograms, according to Cao.


Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan have four meals a day, eating 30 kg of fresh bamboo and a lots of fruit, Cao told Xinhua.


Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan live in a 400 square meter house that is open to the public. Sometimes they give a performance when they get excited by a large audience, said Cao.


Cao said many private organizations in Taiwan had offered to house the pandas. The Chinese mainland hopes Taiwan authorities will take an open attitude to the pandas and fulfill the wishes of people in the Chinese mainland and Taiwan.


Taiwan media reported that the Chinese mainland would charge the Taiwan organization which houses the pandas stiff fees each year, but Cao said the reports were "groundless".


"The pandas have been offered to Taiwan because of the emotional links between compatriots in the Chinese mainland and Taiwan, "said Cao. "It is a free gift with no strings attached."


"We are also glad to offer free assistance in building living places for the panda couple and providing technical support for raising the panda couple," Cao said.


To help Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan reproduce offspring in Taiwan, the mainland is also ready to facilitate exchanges of germ plasm for giant pandas, Cao said. 



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