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LAST_UPDATEFri, 27 Oct 2017 9am

Malaysia To Pay China US$600,000 For Each Panda Cubs That Are Born Here

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has to pay US$600,000 to China for each panda cub that is born here after 12 months and return the cub to China when it is two years old, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said.

This is stated in the Malaysia-China Giant Panda International Conservation Agreement programme, in which two giant pandas, Fu Wa (Xing Xing) and Feng Yi (Liang Liang), were loaned to Malaysia for 10 years, he told a press conference at the Giant Panda Conservation Centre here at Zoo Negara after making an official visit to the zoo.

"No, the pandas do not belong to Malaysia, even if it was born in Malaysia.

"We have to return the panda cub to Chengdu, China, after two years. We also have to give a gift for the birth of the panda, that is pay US$600,000 for each panda cub that is born here," he added.

"Even to name the panda cub, we need China's approval as per the agreement," Wan Junaidi said, adding that the ministry will organise a naming contest for the cub like the one held to name its parents.

The cub will only be displayed to the public once its mother releases her and the baby is able to move freely.

At the moment Liang Liang is still clutching her cub.

The total cost of maintenance of the pandas still remains at an average of RM60,000 a month.

He said the point to note is that Malaysia is able to keep "unique animals" and take care of them.

The birth of the cub has reportedly set a world record by being the first pair to naturally reproduce within 15 months while in captivity, beating Japan's record of 18 months.

Xing Xing and Liang Liang arrived in Malaysia on May 21 last year and are housed in a 1.6 hectare air-conditioned complex at the national zoo.

China agreed to loan them to Malaysia to mark 40 years of diplomatic ties this year.

Wan Junaidi said Malaysia is the eighth country that breeds panda among 18 countries that has pandas in the world.

Meanwhile Zoo Negara's upgrading works will be completed by end of 2016.

The ministry has allocated RM700million for the total upgrading works that are ongoing in the zoo.

- The Sun Daily