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Panda couple make public appearance

Andy Lau (L), a renowned actor and singer, explains to visitors about the panda couple at their first public appearance at the Ocean Park in Hong Kong July 1, 2007. [Xinhua]

HONG KONG -- The renovated Giant Panda Habitat in Hong Kong's Ocean Park opened to the public on Sunday, where a pair of new-comer pandas made their first public appearance.

The pair of young pandas -- Le Le and Ying Ying are the two giant pandas presented by China's central government to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) as a gift to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the motherland.

Le Le, male, was born on August 8, 2005, and Ying Ying, female, was born on August 16 of the same year.

The panda couple, both born at the Wolong Center in Sichuan province, came to Hong Kong on April 26, 2007. Since their arrival, they have been staying at the Giant Panda Habitat, joining the two other pandas, An An and Jia Jia, who have been living at Ocean Park since 1999.

The refurbished habitat has a total activity area of 600 square meters. 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. In the panda couple's room, extra climbing frames are stationed at their enclosure, so they can be as active as they wish.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Chairman of Ocean Park Allan Zeman said that he was delighted that the Giant Panda Habitat's reopening coincided with the 10th anniversary celebration of Hong Kong's return to China.

"It is the perfect way for us to share our joy and excitement with the Hong Kong public," he said.

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