KUALA LUMPUR: Hong Leong Group's property arm GuocoLand (China) Ltd (GLC) became the first Malaysian company to officially adopt a baby panda at the China Conservation and Research Centre for Giant Pandas in Wenchuan County, Sichuan last Saturday, Apr 9.
The adoption is part of the company's commitment to save one of the most endangered species in the world, via its "Passion for Conservation Campaign", which follows from its previous "Passion for Humanity" campaigns.
The adopted baby panda — named Hao Hao, who weighed four ounces at the time of its birth (Aug 14, 2010) — is now living healthily in the Wolong Nature Reserve Centre (the site of the Panda Centre), and likes eating bamboo shoots and climbing trees.
Hao Hao's mother Mei Qing is a survivor of the 2008 Wenchuan Earthquake, and is considered the "Hero Mother". She lives inside the reserve.
Due to massive habitat destruction during the 2008 earthquake, there are now only 1,600 pandas remaining in the wild, according to recent statistics. Although the Wolong Nature Reserve is the largest panda reserve in the world, it was one of the most heavily-affected areas to be hit by the earthquake.
Almost two-thirds of the panda reserve, comprising 80% of the panda habitat, was affected by the quake, resulting in the pandas being temporarily relocated while the area was being restored.
GLC donated 600,000 yuan (RM277,835.92) to the centre, which would be use to support ongoing panda protection, nursing and breeding research.
GLC group managing director Violet Lee said that as a developer from Singapore and Malaysia, the company aims to provide eco-friendly buildings to people in China and also to protect its environment and create awareness among the public.
"As a universal symbol for the protection of wild animals in the world, it is the duty of us human beings to protect the wildlife, the nature resources and the Eco-environment," Lee said, adding that she was also honoured to be the first non-local (ie China) Chinese Panda Charity Ambassador for her efforts to protect China's national animal.
Wolong Nature Reserve Centre chief Zhang Hemin called for more organisations to help protect pandas, adding that the centre plans to finish the restoration of the natural habitat within the next five years, as well as complete the Chengdu Dujiangyan Panda Anti-disease Control Centre and Panda Research Centre by 2012.
GLC has more green Panda themed events planned for May 2011, starting with the launch of conservation awareness raising initiatives to the public in conjunction with the opening of Beijing Guoson Mall, Hong Leong Group's first retail brand in China.
Since its inception in 1994, GLC has been actively committed towards a better environment.
In November 2010, GLC's two Guoson Centres — in Beijing and Shanghai — won the Best International Mixed-use Development award at The International Property Awards in association with Bloomberg Television.
Beijing Guoson Centre is a fully sustainable and integrated development that spans across 40,000 sq m (including the "Guoson Green" park), making it the largest garden in China in a commercial development. The park will be accessible to the public free of charge.