Grand Welcome to China's Giant Pandas at their New Home in Belgium's Pairi Daiza Zoo
It has been reported that Belgium's Pairi Daiza Zoo has welcomed a pair of giant pandas from southwest China's Sichuan province as their new home on Sunday. The arrival of the pandas was greeted by about 2,500 people including exhilarated children waving national flags of China and Belgium and panda-decorated flags.
The presence of the crowd along the road to the zoo located some 60 km southwest of downtown Brussels made the arrival of the pandas a really exciting and special event.
The visitors were only allowed to observe the pandas through a closed-circuit television in the reception. Officials said they want the pandas to become comfortable to their new home and acclimatize with new surroundings before making their public debut in April.
Both male panda Xing Hui and female panda Hao Hao are four years old. The pair is on a 15-year lease from a breeding centre in Sichuan province in China after being part of a research cooperation programme.
Li Qingwen, Deputy Secretary-General of China Wildlife Conservation Association, told visitors at the zoo: "I hope the research programme will bear fruit and Xing Hui and Hao Hao can give birth to a baby panda soon".
Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo was present to greet the two giant pandas, which made the event really grand. Di Rupo said it is really an honor that China agreed to lend Belgium their two of its national treasurers.
Some 10 million euros have been spent by the zoo to prepare a vast enclosure for its new stars in its 'China Garden'. There is a pool, cave and bamboo plantation to give the pandas a kind of habitat they are used to.
Giant pandas have been listed as endangered species as only 1,600 are left in China and 300 in captivity in the world.
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