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Pandas all set for trip to Oz
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08:51, September 13, 2007

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A pair of young giant pandas will set off for their new Australian home as soon as their enclosure at Adelaide Zoo is completed, a senior forestry official said yesterday.

President Hu Jintao and Australian Prime Minister John Howard agreed on a 10-year loan of the bears for scientific research and wildlife conservation while Hu was visiting Sydney last week.

The pandas are from the Wolong Nature Reserve in Southwest China's Sichuan Province, Cao Qingyao, spokesman of the State Forestry Administration (SFA), said.

The two-year-old male is called Wangwang (Net) and the one-year-old female Funi (Lucky Girl).

"They are young, healthy, good looking and good tempered," Cao told a press conference.

Currently, 30 pandas from the Chinese mainland are living oversea in nine zoos, mostly for scientific research and cooperation purposes, Cao said. On Saturday, two of the bears began their new lives in Spain.

Wangwang and Funi will be the first to be raised in the southern hemisphere.

The giant panda is one of the world's most endangered species and is found only in China.

An estimated 1,000 can be found in Sichuan, Shaanxi and Gansu provinces.

More than 200 pandas are used for captive breeding. Last year was good for panda conservation as 34 cubs were born through artificial insemination, 30 of which survived, the administration said.

Source: China Daily

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