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Belgium to welcome 2 pandas from China

Updated: 2014-01-13 09:12
( Xinhua)

BRUSSELS - The Pairi Daiza zoo in Belgium is ready to welcome two four-year-old giant pandas from the Wolong National Nature Reserve in Sichuan, Sothwest of China, said zoo chief Eric Domb Sunday.

The announcement was made just following the inspection conducted by four Chinese experts to the Belgium zoo from Thursday to Sunday for the final assessment on its installation for the new pair of "residents".

With the boost of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and his Belgian counterpart Elio Di Rupo, Pairi Daiza zoo in 2013 signed a cooperation agreement with the Wolong Nature Reserve on research on giant pandas.

Wang Pengyan, deputy director of the Wolong Reserve who had worked more than 30 years in the field of the protection of giant pandas, expressed his satisfaction over "full preparations" in Pairi Daiza when interviewed by Xinhua.

"The weather in Belgium are almost similar to those in Wolong, this is very good for the livings of two giant pandas. I wish they could have 'Belgian babies'", he added.

To perfectly integrated a Sichuan habitat setting, zoo chief Domb revealed that his zoo, which has a distance of 40-minute drive from the capital city of Brussels, has imported 4,000 feet of bamboo for planting in the "Giant Pandas Garden", to make the pair feel like at home in Wolong.

The two giant pandas share the 5,300-square-meter garden, including two residences, one 130-square-meter for the male and the other 120-square-meter for the female.

Upon their arrival, two Chinese nurses from the Wolong Reserve will join the veterinary work in the Belgium zoo, where sophisticated devices are equipped to monitor the giant pandas round the clock, Domb introduced.

The two pandas, who are expected to arrive in their new home in spring, will stay 10 years in Pairi Daiza, which was honored last year as the best theme zoo in Benelux.

Giant pandas, extraordinarily loved worldwide for their cute appearance and pleasant mood, are native to China and are one of the most endanged animal species in the world.

According to Gu Xiaodong, head of the protection of wildlife in Sichuan, there are only 1,590 giant pandas globally, with 300 in captivity. So far, China has 64 nature reserves for giant pandas, with 41 in Sichuan.

Founded in 1963 as the first nature reserve of giant pandas, Wolong Reserve began breeding in captivity in 1978. At present, 187 giant pandas live there.

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