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Twin pandas get lifelong support

By : Xinhua|Updated: 2010-04-12

BEIJING, April 12 -- Munching their favorite bamboo and apples, the first pair of twin pandas born after the Sichuan earthquake on May 12, 2008, Le Le and Mei Mei, first met the public last month and were adopted by their new "parents".

Coca Cola, the world's largest beverage giant, has recently announced it would provide lifelong financial support by adopting the pair of 8-month-old twin pandas at Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding (Chengdu Panda Base).

In the next 15 to 20 years, Coca Cola will invest over 1 million yuan to guarantee Le Le and Mei Mei's food supply, healthcare and help promote a better living environment for them.

"Giant Pandas are loved by people around the world - they are a wonder of nature, but also one of the best examples of endangered species, which are worth every effort to protect and treasure," said Doug Jackson, president of Coca Cola Greater China and South Korea.

According to Tan Hongming, director of Chengdu Panda Base, the pair of panda sisters, born on July 19, 2009, were the first pair of twin pandas born after the May 2008 Sichuan earthquake, originally called Wen Li and Ya Li.

But after the adoption, Coca Cola gave the sisters new names, Le Le and Mei Mei, referring to "happiness" and the hopes for the well-being of the pandas and the people of quake-hit Sichuan, according to the company.

Founded in 1987, the Chengdu Panda Base has now bred a total of 83 giant pandas with high-tech training and breeding methods. And according to statistics from Chengdu Panda Base, about 1,600 giant pandas live in the wild in China, mostly in Sichuan province and some northwestern areas, such as in Shaanxi and Gansu provinces. Another 290 are in captive-breeding programs worldwide.

"After the Sichuan earthquake, the disaster caused one panda's death, but it also made an increasing number of people from both home and abroad contribute their loves and care to pandas, the world's most endangered animal," Tan told China Business Weekly.

Jackson also introduced an interesting story regarding Coca Cola and the pair of pandas at the adoption ceremony.

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