Kuala Lumpur: In a goodwill gesture, China will loan a pair of giant pandas to Malaysia for a period of 10 years to mark the 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries.
An agreement would be signed between the Malaysian government and the China Wildlife Conservation Association (CWCA) this Friday, Malaysian National News Agency Bernama reported today.
According to an official statement, the pandas will be located at the Putrajaya Wetlands, and a nationwide contest to name the pandas would be held to spur interest among Malaysians to learn more about this unique animal.
"The presence of the pandas will promote public awareness on panda conservation undertaken by China, and encourage the public to appreciate and learn the importance of biodiversity and wildlife conservation in Malaysia," the statement said.
China`s gesture comes in the wake of a request made by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak to Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao during Najib`s visit to the country.
The agreement would also strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries and mark the 4Oth anniversary of the diplomatic ties in 2014.
"This close relationship has enabled Malaysia to attract more foreign investment from China to further boost the country`s economy," the statement said.
The cooperation will also enable Malaysia to conduct conservation research on the giant panda.
The statement said, "the strength of Malaysia`s expertise would be enhanced through technology transfer by China in the field of artificial insemination, and genetic and behavioral studies on the giant panda."
Around 239 pandas have been reportedly living in captivity inside China and another 27 outside the country.
The giant panda is the rarest member of the bear family and among the world?s most threatened animals.