Friday 23 August 2019

Chinese pandas get zoo enclosure fit for queen’s reception in Denmark

Queen Margrethe inaugurated the Panda House built for Zoo Copenhagen’s new residents.

China’s ‘panda diplomacy’ initiative has been popular over the years (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
China’s ‘panda diplomacy’ initiative has been popular over the years (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

By Associated Press Reporter

Two panda bears on an extended loan from China were welcomed to their new house in Copenhagen during a ceremony fit for Denmark’s queen.

Queen Margrethe inaugurated the Panda House built for Zoo Copenhagen’s new residents, who arrived last week in cargo containers under China’s popular “panda diplomacy” initiative.

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Denmark’s Queen Margrethe opens the Panda House in Copenhagen Zoo (Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix via AP)

The 160-million kroner (£18.48 million) enclosure, designed by Danish architect Bjarke Engels in the shape of a yin-yang symbol, is located in the heart of the zoo and features a panda-themed restaurant.

The 78-year-old queen untied a red velvet ribbon to officially welcome six-year-old male Xing Er, and Mao Sun, a five-year-old female, to their Danish accommodations. The public will be able to see the pandas for the first time on Thursday.

“Congratulations to all of us. We now have two pandas in a fabulous enclosure that we can look at for many, many years,” Margrethe said.

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The pandas arrived last week in cargo containers (Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix via AP)

They are to be separated and brought together again during the mating season. Xing Er replaced another male panda China originally picked to go to Denmark after it was discovered he could not procreate.

China has lent out pandas as a sign of goodwill to fewer than two dozen nations. Any cubs born during the 15-year loan period are considered China’s.

The bears are “national treasures of China and a symbol of peace”, the Chinese Ambassador to Denmark, Deng Ying, said.

In February 2018, China loaned two pandas to Finland. Two others arrived in June 2017 at Berlin’s Tierpark zoo, where the first visitors were German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

PA Media

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