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Panda couple arrive in Hong Kong
Latest Updated by 2007-04-27 09:26:19

The pair of pandas selected for Hong Kong play at the China Panda Protection and Research Center in Wolong, Sichuan Province.Both pandas were born there in August 2005. The male young panda presently identified as No. 606 weighs 60 kilograms and the female, No. 610, 61 kilograms.(Xinhua Photo)

A pair of young pandas offered by the Chinese central government safely arrived at Hong Kong International Airport Thursday afternoon.

The two pandas -- a male and a female -- came from China Panda Protection and Research Center in Wolong, Sichuan province, where a farewell ceremony was held in the morning.

They traveled in specially designed cages made in Hong Kong and flew on a specially equipped aircraft with an entourage of five handlers.

At the handover ceremony at Hong Kong's Chek Lap Kok airport, the result of the "Name the Giant Pandas" activity was announced. The male panda was officially named "Le Le," which means " happiness," and the female "Ying Ying," which stands for abundance.

The names were decided from over 7,000 candidates, Secretary for Home Affairs Patrick Ho said, adding that more than 13,000 Hong Kong citizens took part in the naming activity.

He said he hoped Le Le and Ying Ying will have a comfortable and pleasant life in Hong Kong and bear baby pandas as more as possible in the future.

The State Forestry Administration's Zhao Xuemin said sending the pandas from Sichuan to Hong Kong is somewhat like "marrying daughters." He believed the panda couple will keep healthy here because their new home -- Hong Kong Ocean Park -- has rich experience in breeding pandas.

He also said the Wolong Center will offer help in panda propagation if needed.

The Airport Authority said the flight proceeded to the cargo-handling terminal and that other cargo planes were diverted to other parts of the airport, ensuring that the noise they made would not affect the pandas.

The panda couple, both born in 2005 at the Wolong Center, were taken to their last leg, Hong Kong Ocean Park, in a disinfected truck immediately after arrival. They will then be quarantined at Ocean Park for 30 days and are expected to make their first public appearance on July 1.

The park's Zoological Operations and Education Division Assistant Director Timothy Ng said experts will closely monitor the pandas' health.

The panda couple are gifts to Hong Kong to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the motherland.

The central government presented the first pair of pandas, "An An" and "Jia Jia," as gifts to Hong Kong in 1999. They also live at Ocean Park.

Editor: Donald

By: Source:China View website
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