Xi to join Merkel for panda de­but Pres­i­dent to take part in cer­e­mony as ar­rivals are un­veiled to public

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD -

BER­LIN — Two gi­ant pan­das that ar­rived in the Ger­man cap­i­tal from China last week will meet the public on Wed­nes­day as part of an of­fi­cial cer­e­mony to open the re­fur­bished Panda Gar­den in Ber­lin Zoo.

Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping and Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel will in­au­gu­rate the at­trac­tion.

“I hope this pair of gi­ant pan­das ... will serve as en­voys of China-Germany friend­ship,” Xi said in an ar­ti­cle pub­lished on Tues­day in Ger­man me­dia be­fore he trav­els to the coun­try for a state visit and the G20 Sum­mit in Ham­burg.

“We need to ... deepen co­op­er­a­tion in ed­u­ca­tion, cul­ture, science and tech­nol­ogy, tourism, health, think tanks, me­dia, football and other fields, im­ple­ment visa-re­lated and other fa­cil­i­ta­tion mea­sures and bring our two peo­ples closer to each other.”

The zoo’s new res­i­dents, Meng Meng and Jiao Qin­gin, are quickly set­tling into their new home, ac­cord­ing to Yin Hong, a Chi­nese panda keeper who ac­com­pa­nied the pair from a re­search base in Chengdu, Sichuan prov­ince.

Meng Meng, which means “sweet dream”, is a 4-year-old fe­male, while Jiao Qing, or “dar­ling”, is a 7-year-old male.

“With just one night’s rest af­ter their ar­rival, their ap­petite has re­turned since the sec­ond day and they have been very re­spon­sive to the in­struc­tions given to them,” said Yin.

Doc­tor An­dreas Ochs, se­nior vet­eri­nar­ian at the zoo, added that Meng Meng and Jiao Qing are “very healthy”.

“Ob­vi­ously, they feel very good here. They are still un­der quar­an­tine ... you just have the feel­ing that they are not strangers. They use the in­side fur­ni­ture as if they have been here for­ever,” he said.

To make sure that Meng Meng and Jiao Qing have

I hope this pair of gi­ant pan­das ... will serve as en­voys of China-Germany friend­ship.” Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping

enough food, the Chi­nese keep­ers trav­eled with 1 met­ric ton of bam­boo.

But, ac­cord­ing to Yin, eat­ing bam­boo alone is not nu­tri­tiously ad­e­quate, and each day the pan­das will be given moon­cake-like snacks.

“Our Ger­man part­ners have al­ready learned how to make the cakes for the pan­das so that we do not have to worry when we are back home,” Yin said.

The Panda Gar­den has been built on the site of the pre­vi­ous one but has been ex­panded to cover about 5,500 square me­ters.

Meng Meng and Jiao Qing have al­ready gained star sta­tus, with zoo guests stop­ping for pic­tures out­side the gar­den.

Ochs said the zoo at­tracts about 3.5 mil­lion vis­i­tors ev­ery year, and with Meng Meng and Jiao Qing, the num­ber would def­i­nitely grow.

“We are very proud to be able to house the an­i­mals, who are a sym­bol for the friend­ship be­tween Germany and China,” he said.

The pair, who are in Ber­lin on a 15-year con­ser­va­tion and breed­ing pro­gram, are not the first pan­das to be given or loaned to Germany by China. The last panda Ber­lin had was Bao Bao, which was sent to Ber­lin in 1980 as a state gift from China. He died in 2012.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

The two pan­das, Meng Meng and Jiao Qin­gin, re­ceived a warm wel­come on their ar­rival in Ber­lin, Germany, last week.

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