Aping panda diplomacy?


Primate problem: According to WWF-Malaysia, the orangutan is critically endangered, which means the species face a very high risk of extinction in the wild if its population decline continues. — MAZIDI GHANI/WWF-Malaysia

MORE than 10 years ago, a proposal was submitted to the government on China’s offer to loan a pair of pandas to Malaysia. It was part of Beijing’s panda diplomacy and also coincided with 40 years of diplomatic relations with Malaysia then.

It was accepted almost immediately by Putrajaya. Malaysians were excited at the prospect of seeing the giant pandas in their own backyard, in Zoo Negara. There was a long queue to see Xing Xing and Liang Liang in the RM25mil airconditioned Giant Panda Conservation Centre specially built for them. Malaysia’s weather is too hot for pandas to handle.

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