Malaysia, say 'Ni hao' to panda cub Yi Yi

KUALA LUMPUR: The second Malaysian-born giant panda finally has a name – Yi Yi, which means friendship.

Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr Xavier Jayakumar announced the nineteen-month-old female panda cub’s name at a ceremony at the Zoo Negara on Thursday (Aug 1).

“(The name) Yi Yi was selected to recognise the friendship between two nations which have grown beyond four decades, ” Dr Jayakumar said.

He said he hoped the friendship between Malaysia and China would continue to be enhanced, not only in the area of giant panda conservation but also economically and diplomatically.

Yi Yi was born on Ponggal Day on January 14, 2018, after having been conceived on Deepavali day on Oct 18, 2017.

She is the second offspring of giant pandas Xing Xing and Liang Liang, whose names mean ‘prosperity’ and ‘pretty’.

Dr Jayakumar said she was 750g at birth, but had now grown to become an active, healthy cub weighing almost 50kg.

“She is still feeding on milk, but has started eating bamboo leaves and carrots, ” he added.

Her parents Xing Xing and Liang Liang arrived in Malaysia in May 2014 to commemorate 40 years of diplomatic ties between Malaysia and China.

They are on loan by the Chinese government to Malaysia for 10 years.

They successfully gave birth to their first cub, Nuan Nuan, on August 15, 2015, just 15 months after calling Zoo Negara their home.

The first female panda cub only stayed in Malaysia for two years before being sent to China in November 2017 as part of the agreement that cubs born in captivity must go back at the age of two.

Yi Yi is on loan for up to four years.

Also present at the event was China Ambassador to Malaysia Bai Tian.

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