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Berlin Zoo says Chinese pandas will 'feel at home'

(China Daily) Updated: 2017-06-23 09:31

 Berlin Zoo says Chinese pandas will 'feel at home'

Doctor Andreas Knieriem, director of Berlin Zoo, says pandas are a symbol of peace and friendship.Xinhua

BERLIN - Berlin Zoo is building a "paradise" for two pandas due to arrive on Saturday from China to make them "feel at home," the zoo's director said on Wednesday.

The new villa of Jiao Qing and Meng Meng covers about 5,500 square meters, with a vermilion archway and bamboo fence.

The old Chinese pavilion, damaged during World War II, was also renovated on high ground for visitors to watch the black-eyed bears more clearly.

"We will make our best efforts to make the pandas feel at home here," said Doctor Andreas Knieriem.

He added that the zoo had sent its top Ursidae experts to the pair's home of Chengdu, in Sichuan province, to study their life habits and breeding techniques.

It's not the first time Berlin Zoo has received pandas from China.

In 1980, China sent Bao Bao and Tian Tian as a state gift for visiting German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt.

Bao Bao died in 2012 at the age of 34, making it one of the longest-lived pandas.

Knieriem said Berlin Zoo had since 2014 sought to invite and rent new pandas. A joint study project was agreed on by the two sides in 2015.

"In my eyes, pandas are a symbol of peace and friendship, and can remind people of the necessity for nature conservation," he said.

Meng Meng and Jiao Qing, set to arrive in Berlin on Saturday, have sparked panda fever in Germany.

The zoo has started an online blog in order to brief the public on the everyday progress it made to greet the animals.

The zoo is reportedly the most popular one in Europe, with more than 3.3 million visitors last year.

It expects the two pandas to become a highlight in the future and attract more tourists.

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