The Chinese central government announced Tuesday that a pair of pandas for Hong Kong has been selected and will be sent to the special administrative region before May 1st.
The pandas are leaving in time for the 10th anniversary of the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong, said Cao Qingyao, spokesman with the State Forestry Administration (SFA).
Both pandas were born in 2005 at China Panda Protection and Research Center in Wolong, Sichuan Province. The male baby panda weighs 60 kilograms and the female 61 kilograms.
The Hong Kong SAR government will name the pandas after collecting ideas from local residents and they will settle the pandas in Ocean Park with An An and Jia Jia, another pair of pandas presented to Hong Kong in 1999, according to Cao.
He said that the SFA sent an expert team to Shaanxi and Sichuan provinces in January 2007. The experts selected the two pandas out of a dozen of candidates based on cladistics.
In a visit to China Panda Protection and Research Center in Wolong earlier this month, Chief Secretary for Administration of Hong Kong SAR Rafael Hui said that the Central Government would give Hong Kong a pair of healthy, lively and fertile giant pandas.
Noting that the rare giant pandas are one of China's national treasures, Hui said it is an exceptional case for the Central Government to give an extra pair to Hong Kong.
(Xinhua News Agency March 20, 2007)