Gi­ant panda sleeps through much of In­done­sia me­dia de­but

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - Asean Focus -

GI­ANT panda Cai Tao was asleep for much of his de­but be­fore the me­dia Wed­nes­day in the In­done­sian city of Bogor, but oc­ca­sion­ally perked up to eat bam­boo.

Cai Tao and a much more ac­tive fe­male, Hu Chun, were shown in their spe­cially built en­clo­sure to re­porters as part of prepa­ra­tions for al­low­ing the pub­lic to visit them at Ta­man Sa­fari zoo start­ing later this month.

The pair ar­rived in In­done­sia in late Septem­ber from Chengdu in China and were quar­an­tined at the zoo in Bogor, just out­side the cap­i­tal, Jakarta.

The zoo hopes the 7-year-olds will mate and add to the gi­ant panda pop­u­la­tion.

It’s built a spe­cial en­clo­sure and fa­cil­i­ties that cost about 60 bil­lion ru­piah (US$4.5 mil­lion/k6.1 bil­lion).

Zoo di­rec­tor Jansen Manansang said he’s “very op­ti­mistic they can breed here next year or the year af­ter.”

In an out­door play area, Hu Chun walked around the green land­scape, climbed rocks and con­tent­edly munched on bam­boo.

The liv­ing quar­ters for Cai Tao and Hu Chun, built to re­sem­ble a Chi­nese tem­ple, are equipped with an el­e­va­tor, sleep­ing area, med­i­cal fa­cil­i­ties and in­door and out­door play ar­eas.

Manansang said the “palace” will be the pair’s home for about 10 years un­der a breed­ing loan agree­ment be­tween In­done­sia and China. Any off­spring would be given to China, he said.

There are fewer than 1900 gi­ant pan­das in their only wild habi­tats in the Chi­nese provinces of Sichuan, Shaanxi and Gansu.

China gifted friendly na­tions with its na­tional mas­cot in what was known as “panda diplo­macy” for decades. Coun­tries now pay to be loaned pan­das, but they re­main a sym­bol of Chi­nese cul­tural and po­lit­i­cal power. – Associated Press

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