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Manager of China Central Television Hu Zhanfan (left), Director of State Forestry Administration Zhao Shucong (center) and Vice-Director of General Administration of Press and Publication Nie Chenxi appreciate the applause at the launching of iPanda.com, the online channel for watching pandas, on Aug 6, 2013. [Photo by Zhu Xingxin/Asianewsphoto]
Concerned about the long journey to see a lovely panda in China? Now a simple click will give you the chance any time, any place.
iPanda.com, launched on Tuesday by China Network Television, offers a 24-hour view of panda's lives at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding.
It is the world's first 24-hour high-definition telecast program of pandas through multiple cameras.
More than 30 cameras are set up around the base, with locations carefully chosen to avoid disturbing the pandas. Program directors in the control room are ready to adjust camera angles to capture the most natural panda moments.
They will then pick 10 cameras for live broadcast on the Internet, of which one will be selected for HD live. Both will be accompanied by real-time explanations in multiple languages. Also available will be 30-minute original request programs and a series of documentaries on pandas produced by China Central Television, which owns China Network Television.
Social networking platform Panda Town has also been created on the website. On home pages designed for more than 100 star pandas, global fans follow the pandas' lives and are encouraged to discuss their observations. The same thing can also be done on websites like Facebook, YouTube and Sina Weibo where iPanda.com has registered accounts.
Hu Zhanfan, head of China Central Television, said the website is a gift to people around the world who love pandas and crave peace.
In a survey of international opinion about China's national image, conducted by China International Publishing Group and Millward Brown in 2012, pandas surpassed the Great Wall and the Imperial Palace as the icon of the country. Now ambassadors of China's friendliness, pandas have found homes in 16 zoos in more than 10 countries and regions.
"In Spain, people have to go to the zoo in Madrid to see pandas. The channel is so convenient for panda fans in my country. We can know panda's habits and traditions through it," said an employee of CCTV's Spanish channel, who only gave her name as Michelle.
Zhang Zhihe, director of the Chengdu panda base, said a friend from one of Chengdu's friendship cities overseas proposed the idea of a 24-hour live broadcast to him six years ago. But back then they were financially incapable of carrying out the plan.
In addition to introducing these adorable animals and trying to protect them, Zhang said the move is also about ecological education.
"By exploring the survival status of pandas and reasons why they are endangered, people will come to understand their relationship with the environment," he said.
"This will increase the public's awareness of environmental protection, which is also a way of protecting ourselves."