Sex of newborn panda yet to be ascertained, says minister

Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar

KUCHING, Jan 19: The sex of the panda cub born five days ago at the National Zoo in Hulu Kelang, Selangor cannot be ascertained yet as the panda mother won’t let anyone touch her newborn cub, said Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.

He said his department is discussing on the name to give the newborn panda, the second baby panda born by giant panda pair Xing Xing and Liang Liang since they arrived in Malaysia in 2014.

“This is an extraordinary achievement. It is understood that China has sent out 12 pairs of giant pandas to various countries across the world, but Malaysia is one country that’s able to make its loaned pair produce a cub twice within a short period,” said the Santubong MP after handing out school bags to students in the parliamentary constituency today.

The first baby panda, Nuan Nuan, which was born on Aug 18, 2015, was sent back to China in November last year.

When asked whether the newborn panda will be sent back to China, Wan Junaidi said that it will be sent back to China after it turns two-years-old according to the panda loan agreement between the two countries, but Malaysia can request for a two-year extension.

He added that Malaysia needs to build a new habitat for the baby panda if its stay is extended for two more years as grown up panda might be attacked by its parents and killed; the habitat would consume a huge sum.

He said even Prime Minsiter Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak asked him to conduct research on why the pair of giant pandas at the National Zoo’s Panda Conservation Centre could produce a second cub within a short time after the first.

Xing Xing and Liang Liang arrived in Malaysia on May 21, 2014 as a symbol of 40 years of close diplomatic relations between China and Malaysia. — DayakDaily