ANIMAL WELFARE: Construction of enclosure to begin at Wetland Park
THE Natural Resources and Environment Ministry has surveyed two giant panda enclosures in Singapore and Thailand in preparation for the welcoming of two pandas from China next year.
Minister Datuk Seri Uggah Embas said the visit comes ahead of the construction of the enclosure here to house the male and female pandas on loan for 10 years.
"The welfare of the animals is a top priority as they are a national treasure of the People's Republic of China and a symbol of the good diplomatic ties between Malaysia and China.
"We will learn from zoos about panda management to ensure that their welfare and needs are taken care of," he said yesterday.
The pandas will be placed in an air-conditioned enclosure at the Wetland Park here along with five species of bamboo to suit their dietary needs.
1Malaysia Development Berhad will bear half the cost towards the construction of the facilities.
Last month, China officially agreed to loan the pandas for a decade as a symbol of the republic's healthy relationship with Malaysia, as well as to mark 40 years of diplomatic ties.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had first mooted the idea during a visit to China in April, which his counterpart, Wen Jiabao, gave his immediate consent.
Apart from boosting the country's relationship with China, Najib had also expressed hope that it would woo more tourists to the country and help with conservation efforts as well as research.
Thailand is said to have recorded about 900,000 tourists after it took in pandas.
The two pandas will also be the first foreign species to be brought into Malaysia for research.
Uggah is scheduled to visit the site at the Wetland Park here today.