Jakarta. Giant pandas from China, Cai Tao and Hu Chun, arrived in Jakarta on Thursday (28/09).
"Pandas are not only China's national treasure, but also friendship ambassadors and a symbol for peace," said Sun Weide, the charge d'affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Jakarta.
He added that the arrival of Cai Tao and Hu Chun is a "historic moment in China-Indonesia relations."
China's "panda diplomacy," practiced since the 1950s, in recent decades has also been part of its conservation efforts, with the bearlike mammals offered to other countries on 10-year loans. Indonesia is the 16th country to participate in the program.
The breeding loan program involves a rigorous selection process to ensure that the bears' habitat needs are met.
The pair arrived from Chengdu on a Garuda Indonesia flight, and will be taken to Taman Safari Indonesia in Cisarua, West Java.
Taman Safari Indonesia president director Jansen Manansang said the pandas will be in quarantine for one month before going on public display.
Cai Tao and Hu Chun were born in 2010, in a special breeding program by the China Wildlife Conservation Association (CWCA) for the survival of the species.
According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), there are about 1,800 giant pandas left in the wild today. In September 2016, the giant panda was downgraded from "endangered" to "vulnerable" on the global list of species at risk of extinction.
Cai Tao and Hu Chun will live in Taman Safari Indonesia's newly built 4,800-square-meter facility, Rumah Panda Indonesia, which is located 1,800 meters above sea level, and designed to mimic their natural habitat in China, with the average temperature range of 15 to 24 degrees.
"We have prepared a 10-hectare ready-to-harvest bamboo plantation and four cages for the pandas – two indoors, one outdoors – and a special one for mating," Jansen said.
The new compound has been furnished with traditional Chinese ornaments.
Male panda Cai Tao, whose name means "colorful porcelain," weighs 128 kilograms. Female Hu Chun, or "spring lake," weighs 113 kilograms.
"We hope they will breed next year," Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya said.
However, in accordance with the loan agreement, cubs born during the 10-year period will have to be returned to China after two or three years.
According to Siti, the cooperation in giant panda conservation efforts was initiated in 2008. After long negotiations, the cooperation agreement was signed by Taman Safari Indonesia and CWCA in Guiyang, China, in August 2016.