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Singapore ready to greet panda pair

By Huang Zhiling  (China Daily)

08:15, September 06, 2012

Personnel help giant panda Wujie move into a transport cage before heading to Singapore on Wednesday at the Bifengxia Base of China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda in Ya'an, Sichuan province. Heng Yi / for China Daily

Meeting President Hu Jintao in Beijing on Tuesday, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said his nation is looking forward to the arrival of the panda pair Wujie and Hubao.

The pair left the Bifengxia Base of China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda in Ya'an, Sichuan province, on Wednesday afternoon, for Chengdu, capital of Sichuan.

"They will be flown from Chengdu in the wee hours of Thursday on board a Singapore Airlines Cargo Boeing 747 and are expected to touch down at Changi Airport in Singapore at 8:20 am," said Heng Yi, an information officer at the center.

To prepare for the pair's trip to Singapore, the base put them in quarantine on Aug 1. On the morning of Aug 28, experts from the base and Singapore gave them a thorough physical examination.

"The examination showed that Wujie and Hubao are very healthy," said Tang Chunxiang, a veterinarian and assistant to the director of the center.

The center prepared a week's worth of food for the duo, including bamboo, buns and fruits.

"Pandas can adapt quickly. While receiving food from Bifengxia, keepers will feed them Singaporean bamboo, too. After a week in Singapore, they can adapt to bamboo there," he said.

Wujie, a male panda who will be renamed Kaikai in Singapore, was born in September 2007; and Hubao, a female who will be renamed Jiajia, was born in September 2008. They will stay in the River Safari Zoo in Singapore for 10 years.

After a monthlong quarantine, they will be released into their exhibit in the River Safari Zoo to familiarize themselves with their new environment before going on public display in December.

Some Singaporean companies are already geared up to jump on the panda bandwagon, according to the Jakarta Post.

They are rolling out souvenirs, such as panda-inspired bags and toys, to coincide with the arrival of the two pandas.

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