In 1997, Britain handed Hong Kong back to China, marking the end of British rule in the area. China is likely to give a panda to Hong Kong as a gift to honor the 10th anniversary of the handover, a media report said last week.
"We are working hard on this. There should be at least one new panda coming to town next year," an unidentified source told the South China Morning Post.
The panda or pandas would join two pandas already in Hong Kong, An An and Jia Jia, who live in the Ocean Park complex on Hong Kong Island.
But both An An and Jia Jia are getting old. At 28, Jia Jia is one of the oldest pandas in captivity. Most pandas are only expected to live to be about 24 years old. An An is nine years younger at 19.
Ocean Park has already asked the Chinese authorities for two young pandas that would live in a new section to be built onto the Panda House.
The possibility of two new young pandas are among the attractions being considered for the ceremony on July 1, 2007. Other options for the celebration of the anniversary include an exhibition of national treasures, a concert by a national orchestra, a world-class soccer game possibly involving Chelsea or Barcelona, and fireworks.
So far only one event — a visit by China's President Hu Jintao — has been confirmed. (DPA)