Panda cubs heading back to China in May

Homebound: Yi Yi will be sent back to Chengdu, China, with her sibling Sheng Yi after their return was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

KUALA LUMPUR: The adorable panda cubs Yi Yi and Sheng Yi at Zoo Negara will return to China in May.

Zoo Negara deputy director Rosly@Rahmat Ahmat Lana said the Chinese government has given the green light for Malaysia to return the two panda cubs in the next six weeks or so after it was delayed for several years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“However, the actual delivery date has not yet been ascertained, but it may be in the middle of May.

“The panda cubs will be sent directly to Chengdu,” Rosly told Bernama.

The giant panda pair of Fu Wa and Feng Yi was loaned to the Malaysian government in 2014 for 10 years, in conjunction with the 40th anniversary of Malaysia and China diplomatic relations.

The loan programme under the Giant Panda Conservation International Collaboration Programme Agreement allows Malaysia to conduct research on giant panda conservation and develop and train local expertise.

To date, the panda pair, which were renamed Xing Xing and Liang Liang, has given birth to three cubs, namely Nuan Nuan, who was born on Aug 18, 2015; Yi Yi, on Jan 14, 2018; and Sheng Yi, on May 30, 2021.

Nuan Nuan was sent back to China in 2017.

According to the agreement, each giant panda cub must be sent back to China when it reaches 24 months of age and no more than four years old.

The presence of pandas at the Giant Panda Conservation Centre also contributed to the increase in the number of visitors and helped boost Zoo Negara’s income.

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