Second Malaysian-born panda named Yi Yi

The female cub is the offspring of Liang Liang and Xing Xing, the two giant pandas currently on a 10-year loan from China. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: The second Malaysian-born panda has been given the name Yi Yi, which means “friendship”.

Born on Jan 14, 2018, the female cub is the offspring of Liang Liang and Xing Xing, the two giant pandas currently on a 10-year loan from China.

At the naming ceremony, that took place at the Giant Panda Conservation Centre in Zoo Negara here today, Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr A Xavier Jayakumar said the name had been carefully selected following consultations with the China Wildlife Conservation Association.

“The name Yi Yi has been selected in recognition of the friendship between Malaysia and China that has grown over the past four decades,” he told reporters.

The minister said that besides milk, the healthy cub’s diet also comprised bamboo leaves. Yi Yi currently weighs 50kg.

When asked when Yi Yi would be returned to China as Malaysia could only keep the cub for two years, the minister said: “We haven’t decided yet. We might discuss with China to see if we can keep her for the maximum period of four years.”

The first Malaysian-born panda and Yi Yi’s elder sibling, Nuan Nuan, was born on Aug 23, 2016, at the conservation centre and was returned to China in November 2017.

Their parents, Xing Xing and Liang Liang, arrived here in 2014 to mark the 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Malaysia and China.

China’s ambassador to Malaysia, Bai Tian, said the fact that two panda cubs were born here showed that Malaysia was a comfortable home for the Chinese giant pandas.

The envoy also said he was happy with the name Yi Yi as it embodied the longstanding ties between China and Malaysia.