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Ying Ying and Le Le Meet the Public Today as Ocean Park’s Renovated

2007-07-01

(Hong Kong – 1 July 2007) Ocean Park joins the rest of Hong Kong in celebrating the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) with the much anticipated public debut of young pandas Ying Ying and Le Le at the Hong Kong Jockey Club Giant Panda Habitat. A special ceremony was held at the park to mark the re-opening of the newly-renovated facility, led by the Chairman of Ocean Park, Dr. Allan Zeman, and Ocean Park Conservation Foundation, Hong Kong (OPCFHK) Conservation Ambassador Mr. Andy Lau. Dr. Zeman and Mr. Lau also welcomed the first Hong Kong family to set foot in the Giant Panda Habitat.

The two young pandas were gifts from the Central People’s Government to the people of Hong Kong to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the HKSAR. Since their arrival in Hong Kong on 26 April, they have been staying at the Giant Panda Habitat, joining the two other giant pandas, An An and Jia Jia, who have been living at Ocean Park since 1999. Ying Ying and Le Le have since completed their quarantine, and have acclimated admirably to their new home and surroundings.

At the ceremony, the pair of national treasures made their grand entrance into the habitat in full view of the guests of honour, at the sound of the guests playing the musical triangle in unison. In fact, the instrument is often used by professional panda keepers as a call signal for the pandas. Ying Ying and Le Le then proceeded to roam about in the custom-built habitat, climbing trees and rolling on the grass slopes.

“We simply cannot ask for a more heartwarming gift as Ying Ying and Le Le to mark this auspicious moment,” said Dr. Zeman. “We’re absolutely delighted that the Giant Panda Habitat’s reopening coincided with the tenth anniversary celebration of the Hong Kong SAR; it is the perfect way for us to share our joy and excitement with the Hong Kong public. All this was made possible due to the seamless operation starting from the Wolong Nature Reserve all the way to Ocean Park, and we are grateful for the support from all government quarters, as well as the tender loving care provided by the panda veterinarian and care giver teams from Wolong and Ocean Park. Ying Ying and Le Le, as well as the original inhabitants, An An and Jia Jia, are in great shape and spirits, and they are all ready to meet and greet the Hong Kong public today.”

The refurbished Giant Panda Habitat has a total activity area of 600 square metres. It is a world-class facility with ample activity areas for all four pandas. Divided into three separate activity zones for the pandas, each area is designed to reflect the ecological environment in Sichuan, with a skylight roof allowing natural light through. Special attention has also been made to create activity zones to best accommodate each panda’s individual characteristics. For instance, extra climbing frames are stationed at the young inhabitants’ enclosure, so the young pandas can be as active as they wish.

In addition to officiating the re-opening of the Giant Panda Habitat, celebrity guest Andy Lau displayed a limited edition giant panda charity t-shirt, which will be launched this summer to raise funds and awareness for OPCFHK. Available at 18 Baleno outlets in Hong Kong, these t-shirts are inspired by Lau, who has been a Conservation Ambassador for OPCFHK since 1993. All proceeds garnered from sales of the giant panda charity t-shirt will go directly to OPCFHK. Additionally, Baleno presented a cheque of HK$200,000 to OPCFHK at today’s ceremony. For more details on the Baleno panda t-shirt, please call 2422-8022.

The award presentation ceremony for the Ocean Park Lovely Giant Pandas Drawing Activity was also held today. Jointly presented by Ocean Park and Sing Tao News Corporation, the activity was open to all Hong Kong primary school students, and 26 of the best entries are now on display at the Community Art Galleries at MTR stations across Hong Kong, as part of the “art in mtr” programme, which aims to promote community art, and to make everyday journeys more pleasurable for passengers. From now till 31 July, the drawings will be on display at MTR Sheung Wan, Central, Admiralty, Fortress Hill, North Point, Quarry Bay, Tai Koo, Sai Wan Ho, Shau Kei Wan, Heng Fa Chuen, Chai Wan and Tsing Yi Stations.

Finally, the Ocean Park Wet ‘n Wild Panda Mania Summer Splash event kicks off today, and will continue through 2 September, with an additional 15 attractions guaranteed to keep guests “wet ‘n wild” all summer!

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About Ocean Park
Ocean Park is Hong Kong’s unique home-grown theme park with a heritage of delivering family fun and fond memories. Since its opening in January 1977 as a non-profit organization, Ocean Park has developed itself to be a world-class attraction connecting people with nature, and recognized for its animal husbandry, research and relationship with the community. Over 80 million people have visited Hong Kong's premier park since its inception and Ocean Park has remained committed to offer adults and children experiences that blend entertainment with education and conservation.