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Pandas being prepared ahead of move to Singapore

(Xinhua)

12:49, August 18, 2012

CHENGDU, Aug. 17 (Xinhua) -- A pair of pandas are going through the final stages of quarantine in southwest China before heading for Singapore in September, a breeding center announced on Friday.

The pandas, Wujie and Hubao, are "healthy, outgoing, active, and keen to play and climb trees," according to officials with China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda (CCRCGP) of Wolong, in Sichuan province. The pandas will leave for Singapore on September 6, on a ten-year lease.

The male panda Wujie, known as Kai Kai in Singapore, is five years old and weighs 111 kg. The female, Hubao, known as Jia Jia in Singapore, is a year younger but weighs the same.

The pandas will move to a 1,600 square meter park in River Safari, run by the Wildlife Reserves Singapore. The lease is aimed to raise public awareness about wildlife conservation and develop a breeding program for endangered animals.

The bamboo-eating giant pandas are native only to the mountains in southwest China, particularly Sichuan. The endangered animals, due to low fertility rate, are widely considered an emblem of China. In recent years, China has been active in leasing pandas to foreign countries as a form of goodwill.

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