Panda diplo­mats on a new life halfway around the world

Muscat Daily - - WORLD -

Rhenen, The Nether­lands - Panda-mo­nium is about to en­sue in the Nether­lands. Two pan­das ar­rived from China to stay at the Ouwe­hands Dieren­park zoo in the town of Rhenen, lo­cated in the prov­ince of Utrecht.

The zoo has been re­quest­ing a pair of pan­das from China for 16 years, and fi­nally got per­mis­sion to host the an­i­mals, Xing Ya and Wu Wen, from the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment, ac­cord­ing to Ouwe­hands Dieren­park’s web­site. China’s pro­gramme of send­ing pan­das to other na­tions is of­ten called ‘panda diplo­macy’, which we guess makes this pair panda diplo­mats.

This par­tic­u­lar agree­ment was reached in Oc­to­ber 2015, but the zoo wasn’t given an of­fi­cial green light un­til March af­ter an in­spec­tion of the fa­cil­i­ties.

The pan­das’ first night in their new home went well, ac­cord­ing to a news re­lease from the zoo. They’ll have to stay in quar­an­tine for a few weeks, but will soon be liv­ing in the laps of lux­ury.

Xing Ya and Wu Wen are two in­cred­i­bly lucky an­i­mals who will be en­joy­ing their Dutch stay in a US$7.4mn com­pound built in a tra­di­tional Chi­nese style. Dur­ing their 15 year stay, the hope is that the pair will feel at home enough to mate and have lit­tle panda cubs, ac­cord­ing to Dutch News.

Panda preg­nancy is a big deal, and pretty rare. Ac­cord­ing to the World Wide Fund, which uses a panda as its logo, the bears pro­duce one cub every two years. And that’s only if the mama bears get preg­nant all. Fe­male pan­das only ovu­late once every mat­ing sea­son, which is March to May. “The Chi­nese gov­ern­ment has put in 30 years of

hard work in pan­das - [they are] not go­ing to let the panda go ex­tinct,” Dr M San­jayan, se­nior sci­en­tist at Con­ser­va­tion In­ter­na­tional told Na­tional Ge­o­graphic.

Panda cubs are not only ab­so­lutely adorable, they’re also cru­cial to keep­ing their species alive. Pan­das, widely con­sid­ered a sym­bol of wildlife con­ser­va­tion, were taken off the en­dan­gered species list in Septem­ber 2016.

Hope­fully, their very ex­pen­sive new home will be con­ducive to a lit­tle panda ro­mance, so that Xing Ya and Wu Wen can keep our favourite type of bear alive and well.

This story has been up­dated to clar­ify that the Nether­lands zoo is lo­cated in the prov­ince of Utrecht, not the city. The zoo is in the town of Rhenen.

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