London black cab features panda decor for 2012 Olympics

Updated: 2012-06-03 10:35

By Li Yu and Lai Li(

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London black cab features panda decor for 2012 Olympics

The giant panda cab in London for the 2012 Olympics

With the 2012 Olympic Games just around the corner, a number of London's iconic black cabs, but more vibrant in their newly painted panda outfits, will park at landmarks across the city. They will offer their services to visitors from all over the world starting June 1.

It is a program launched by Chengdu, the provincial capital of Sichuan in China and homeland of the giant panda. Sponsored by the Chengdu Association for Cultural Exchange with Foreign Countries, the three-month program is aimed at promoting global efforts to protect the earth's endangered species including the giant panda. The program also aims to encourage bonds between humans and nature, and to express good wishes for the London Olympics from the Chinese city.

The panda cabs have aroused the curiosity and attention of Londoners as the pudgy figure is skillfully integrated into the cab's exterior decor with lights resembling the sparkling eyes of the panda.

The slogan of "Chengdu, Hometown of Pandas, Spice it up" is printed on both sides of the vehicle along with Chengdu's official English website. The adorable images of the animal are painted with the colors of the Olympic rings on the hood, roof and both sides of the cab's body.

"Cabs in London are always colorful. It is the first time I saw a black and white one. It's adorable, and will be a beautiful scene on the London streets during the Olympic Games," the first passenger of the Panda taxi said.

It is not surprising that panda cabs have received a warm welcoming, as the final design were voted on by people around the world through social networking platforms including Facebook, Twitter and micro blogs. The design represents the impression of and the affection for giant pandas for many of the world's citizens.

The year 2012 also marks the 40th anniversary of China-UK ambassadorial diplomatic relations. To further the bilateral ties, Chengdu will carry out a "Giant Panda Partnership" program with Britain's Edinburgh Zoo, where two Chinese pandas currently reside. This will promote educational and cultural exchanges between China and the UK.

"As the Olympic Games are around the corner, I believe more people around the world will come to London and many of them will see and take the panda cab. We are launching a number of public activities themed on the protection of the giant pandas. I hope that more people will become 'partners' of the giant pandas," said Christina Pouso, an officer of the Edinburgh Zoo.

As the first Chinese city to breed and protect the endangered species and a window through which the Chinese national treasure says "hello" to the world, Chengdu has held a number of international non-profit panda-themed activities.

During the "Earth Hour" initiative organized by the World Wildlife Fund in 2011, giant panda "Meilan" served as the global ambassador and turned off the light to promote an energy-saving lifestyle. Earlier this year Chengdu kick started a project to release giant pandas bred in captivity back into the wild. These efforts are aimed to inspire the international community to protect the environment and our planet's biodiversity. These activities have received positive responses from home and abroad.