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M'sia zoo readies home for giant pandas
Publication Date : 28-01-2014
Giant pandas Fu Wa and Feng Yi are set to settle into their home at Malaysia's Zoo Negara (National Zoo) by April.
Natural Resources and Environment Minister G. Palanivel said the 25 million ringgit (US$7.4 million) panda complex had been completed, featuring three main exhibit areas which would be kept at under 24°C to mimic their natural habitat.
Other facilities in the colourful yellow and green 1.6ha complex include an exercise area, holding den, laboratory, veterinary clinic, incubator room and a monitoring room.
“The giant pandas will be transported here via MAS Kargo, which will be doing it free of charge. We have also prepared bamboo fields to ensure enough food supply for the next 10 years,” he told reporters before inspecting the new complex on Monday.
Bamboo has already been grown in a 10ha field in Paya Indah Wetlands Park, while another 6ha field has been identified in Putrajaya Wetlands Park.
“The prime minister will be announcing the new names for Fu Wa and Feng Yi. We have already given the list of suggested names to him,” he said.
Palanivel said zoo visitors who wanted to visit the giant panda complex would need to pay a separate entrance fee.
On June 15, 2012, the Malaysian and Chinese governments clinched a deal for Feng Yi and Fu Wa to be loaned to Malaysia for 10 years to mark the 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries this year.
Besides boosting the tourism industry for Visit Malaysia Year 2014, Palanivel said this agreement gave Malaysia the chance to carry out giant panda conservation research, as well as develop and train local talent.
Visitors will be able to view the cuddly creatures from a glass panel before entering the actual exhibit itself on the lower ground floor, which features a bridge overlooking both enclosures.
Zoo Negara deputy director Dr Muhammad Danial Felix said Fu Wa and Feng Yi would have their own enclosures, which include a wooden playground, water feature, an ice block and a gully.
“The water feature will also help to buffer the noise visitors make so the giant pandas will not be startled. They also enjoy draping themselves on the ice blocks and the gully resembles their natural habitat,” he said, adding that he would be one of the eight trained keepers.
“We will be making one more trip there so we can fly back with the giant pandas. This is because we are already familiar faces to them,” he said.