Hong Kong gets “handover” pandas

Hong Kong welcomed its second pair of pandas on Thursday, flown in from China to mark the tenth anniversary of the former British colony's return to Chinese rule -- with high hopes that they will soon breed.
The pandas were born in August 2005 at China’s leading panda conservation centre in Wolong, Sichuan province. At a ceremony at Hong Kong’s international airport, the male and female were named Le Le and Ying Ying, meaning "happiness" and "abundance", respectively.

The pair were selected from a batch of 15 cubs, based on such criteria as fertility, health, looks and social compatability, to boost the chances of them breeding upon reaching sexual maturity in a few years. Hong Kong’s two other resident pandas, Jia Jia and An An, have yet to breed since arriving in 1999.

The newcomers will be housed in a climate-controlled enclosure at Ocean Park, an educational theme park on Hong Kong island. After about one month of quarantine, Le Le and Ying Ying will be unveiled to the public ahead of the Hong Kong handover anniversary on July 1.