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China Selects Pair of Pandas to Live in Australia
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China has selected a pair of giant pandas, Wangwang and Funi, to live in Australia as a goodwill gesture promised during a recent visit to Australia by President Hu Jintao.


The male panda Wangwang is two years old, born on August 31 in 2005, and the female one Funi is one year old, born on August 23 in 2006, said Cao Qingyao, spokesman for the State Forestry Administration, at a routine press conference on Wednesday.


The pair currently reside in the Wolong-based China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda in Southwest China's Sichuan province, but will move to Adelaide Zoo, in South Australia, Cao said.


Cao said the China Wildlife Conservation Association, on behalf of the ministry, has signed a ten-year agreement with Adelaide Zoo on the protection and joint research of the giant pandas.


"The Australian side has started preparations for the construction of facilities for the pandas and the pair will be transported to Australia as soon as the facilities are ready," said Cao.


Another pair of giant pandas, Bing Xing and Hua Zui Ba, set off for Madrid on Friday to stay in Spain for ten years.


The giant panda is one of the world's rarest animals, with about 1,590 living in the wild in China, mostly in the southwest of the country. Another 210 have been bred in captivity.


China has been raising pandas through artificial insemination and breeding for nearly 50 years. The number of newborns rose to 34 with 30 surviving last year. Both were record figures.


(Xinhua News Agency September 12, 2007)

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