Two pandas have arrived from China to Indonesia as part 10-year breeding loan.
The pair of giant pandas, Cai Tao and Hu Chun, who together weigh nearly 150 kg, were flown into Soekarno-Hatta International Airport Thursday morning from southwest China as an act of “panda diplomacy.” From here, they will be transferred to a zoo in Bogor, West Java.
China has loaned the pandas to mark the diplomatic anniversary between the two nations — despite recent clashes between Chinese and Indonesian vessels in the South China Sea.
"We hope we can breed them, that Hu Chun and Cai Tao will mate so they'll have offspring while they're here," said Yulius Suprihardo, a spokesman for Taman Safari Indonesia.
According to the director, the bears will live in a 4,800 sq. meters plantation, approximately 1,700 m above sea level.
"We have prepared a 10-hectare ready-to-harvest bamboo plantation and four cages for the pandas — two indoor, one outdoor, and a special one for mating," Jansen Manansang, director of the Taman Safari Indonesia zoo, said.
Sun Weide, China’s ambassador to Indonesia, believes the bears will be a perfect addition to the Indonesian landscape. The name Cai Tao means "Colorful Porcelain" in English while Hu Chun means "Lake in Springtime."
"The names suit beautiful Indonesia, a country that has thousands of islands," he said.
Giant pandas are considered an endangered species. According to conservation organization World Wildlife Fund, there are only around 1,800 pandas in the wild,
Indonesia will be the 16th nation to accommodate pandas and participate in the breeding process, according to the Chinese ambassador.
In exchange for the panda loan, Indonesia has offered to share with China its knowledge of breeding Sumatran tigers.
China's has a long history of gifting pandas as part of what has been dubbed "panda diplomacy."
Indonesia maintains it has no maritime disputes with China in the South China Sea and does not contest ownership of reefs or islets there.
But Beijing's expansive claims in the sea overlap Indonesia's exclusive economic zone around the remote Natuna Islands.
The skirmishes have prompted Indonesia to bolster defenses around the islands.
In July, Indonesia changed the name the South China Sea to North Natuna Sea to show its sovereignty in the waters, prompting criticism from Beijing.