KUALA LUMPUR (HRNW) – Tearful Malaysians said goodbye to two panda cubs Tuesday as authorities prepared to send them to China after years of delays because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Yi Yi and Sheng Yi – born in 2018 and 2021 respectively – were to be transported as part of an agreement between the two countries to send cubs born in captivity to China when they reach two years of age.
The female pandas are the offspring of Xing Xing and Liang Liang, animals China loaned to Malaysia in 2014 for a decade to celebrate 40 years of diplomatic relations. They will remain in the country.
Watching videos of the animals at Malaysia’s National Zoo, panda lovers like 24-year-old photographer Cindy Lai gathered in hopes of catching a glimpse of the pair before their departure later in the day.
“It is an emotional send-off. I feel very sad since I will not be able to see the two lovely cubs,” she said.
“I will definitely cry when they are loaded into the truck to be transported to the airport.”
Housewife Tracey Lee, 37, choked back tears as she recalled visiting the pandas every week to make TikTok videos.