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Lights, cameras, action, and name that panda!

Eighteen Chinese baby pandas, blinking under the bright lights of live television, were presented with their names on Saturday with all the glitz and glamour of a movie premiere.
/ Source: Reuters

Eighteen Chinese baby pandas, blinking under the bright lights of live television, were presented with their names on Saturday with all the glitz and glamour of a movie premiere.

The 18 were paraded in little baby prams on state television after their names had been chosen by Internet surfers.

The naming of panda cubs is customary when they are weaned and released into their “nursery garden,” which was to happen later in the day.

“The names should be civilized, standard, creative and able to highlight the panda’s character as a national treasure,” the Web site said on a special page where ideas could be submitted and votes cast.

The 18 cubs were born to 11 mothers which were raised in captivity in the southwestern province of Sichuan.

The names included Fuwa for baby no. 9, the same as the name of the Beijing Olympics mascot, and meaning friendly.

Baby no. 1 was named Sixue, meaning “miss the snow,” twins were named Meixi and Meixin, both meaning beautiful, and the naughtiest was called “Taotao,” meaning mischievous.

Thirty-four pandas were born in captivity in China last year, but there were four infant mortalities, Xinhua news agency said.

The giant panda is one of the world’s most endangered species and is found only in China. An estimated 1,600 wild pandas live in nature reserves in Sichuan, Gansu and Shaanxi provinces, and 217 are kept in captivity.