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OZ Encounter: Adelaide Zoo’s giant pandas strengthens bond between China and Australia

By  Tingting Yan (People's Daily Overseas Edition)    15:16, August 21, 2017

Regarded as one of Adelaide’s most iconic attractions, Adelaide Zoo is not only home to over 2500 animals, but is also the only zoo in the southern hemisphere where you can visit giant pandas.

Adelaide Zoo officially opened to the public in 1883 and holds over 130 years of history, one of the oldest zoos in Australia. It signifies a crucial aspect of South Australia’s history and heritage.

Based on the different origins of animals, the zoo has been divided into different zones including the Australia zone, the Asia zone, the Africa zone as well as the South America zone. With a trip to Adelaide Zoo, you are guaranteed to see iconic animals from all over the world.

However, the most popular treasures will have to be the two pandas from China, Wangwang and Funi.

In order to welcome the pandas, Adelaide Zoo not only assigned a zone for a bamboo grove but also installed temperature control equipment in both inside and outside of the pandas’ habitat to help Wangwang and Funi better adapt to Australia’s climate.

“They are having a wonderful time that they adapted really, really well. So they’re able to show all of their natural behaviours like they would have back in China, which is absolutely wonderful,” said Lucy Carter, Adelaide Zoo’s panda breeder, “Adelaide has a very dry climate so they both get an allergy vaccination just to help them alleviate how itchy they are.”

“… So it’s an arrangement between the Australian government and China Wildlife Conservation Association and the aim is to promote conservation and research. They [pandas] are what we call them “ambassador animals”; it brings a lot of visitors to Adelaide Zoo. They obviously come to see the pandas but they then also spend time and explore, and can learn about some of our very special and unique Australian natives as well,” said Elaine Benstead, CEO of Adelaide Zoo.

Another feature worth noting is Adelaide Zoo’s special attention towards education, such as the Children’s Zoo. Here, children and students can connect with both the animals as well as nature through the various programs and projects available. Under a breeders’ guidance, children can also get hands-on experiences with various animals.

“2017 being the Australia and China year of tourism, we seize real opportunities to strengthen our links with China, and particularly from a tourism perspective to see how we can showcase some of our Australian natives to Australian visitors,” said Benstead.

In 2016, the number of Chinese tourists visiting Australia was 1.2 million, while the number of Australian visitors in China was nearly 700,000. The tourism and cultural exchange between China and Australia has continuously strengthened the bond between both countries.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Du Xiaofei, Bianji)

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