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New pandas to Hong Kong healthier, livelier
7/2/2007 17:38

Winny Wang/Shanghai Daily news

The Chinese government will present two healthier and livelier pandas to Hong Kong to mark the 10th anniversary of its return to the motherland, said the State Forestry Administration spokesman Cao Qingyao today.

ˇ°We have more choices this time with the development of technologies on breeding and preserving pandas, so we pledge to send healthier pandas to Hong Kong,ˇ±Cao said.

China has solved several key issues in panda breeding, advancing the technology to a higher level, Cao said.

Last year, a record 19 pandas were born in China Panda-protection Research Center.

The mainland presented the first pair of pandas, "An An" and "Jia Jia," to Hong Kong in 1999.

The Hong Kong SAR government requested a second pair of pandas last September, which was soon approved by the State Council.

The pandas will make their debut to the Hong Kong public in the first half of this year, Cao said in an earlier report in January.

The giant panda is one of the world's most endangered species and can only be found in the wild in China. Experts estimate that there are about 1,600 pandas living in the wild. The vast majority - about 1,100 - live in one of the 59 nature reserves that China set up for species by the end of 2006.