The first pair of twin panda cubs born after the devastating May 2008 Sichuan earthquake in southwest China's Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Base were "adopted" by a commercial sponsor Wednesday.
Coca-Cola Greater China has pledged to provide lifelong financial support to Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Base for the care of the pandas.
The pair, Wenli and Yali, born on July 19, 2009, had their names changed to Meimei and Lele after the adoption. The new names were top of an Internet poll. The characters, literally meaning "happiness," represented good wishes for the well-being of the pandas and the people of the quake-hit Sichuan, said a statement from the company.
"We believe it is our responsibility to protect the planet and the welfare of its diverse wild life. The adoption of the pandas signifies our long term commitment in making a sustainable world for ourselves and our future generations," said Doug Jackson, president of Coca-Cola Greater China and Korea.
"We also hope the commitment can encourage our employees, consumers and the society to join us in achieving this goal,"said Doug Jackson.
Giant pandas, known for being sexually inactive, are among the world's most endangered animals.
About 1,600 giant pandas live in China's wild, mostly in Sichuan and the northwestern provinces of Shaanxi and Gansu. Another 290 are in captive-breeding programs worldwide, mainly in China.