Belgian zoo celebrates birthday for giant panda twins

(Xinhua) 11:06, August 18, 2023

BRUGELETTE, Belgium, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese Embassy in Belgium and the Belgian Pairi Daiza Zoo jointly organized a ceremony on Wednesday to celebrate the 4th birthday of the Belgium-born giant panda twins Bao Di and Bao Mei.

As part of the ceremony, Bao Di and Bao Mei moved into their new enclosure. Cao Zhongming, Chinese ambassador to Belgium, Eric Domb, founder and chairman of the Pairi Daiza Zoo, and Andre Desmarlieres, mayor of Brugelette, where the zoo is located, together unveiled a statue of the twins in front of their new home.

On the same day, Cao handed over the original reply letter from Chinese President Xi Jinping to Domb, who sent Xi a letter earlier this year and got a reply from Xi in June via the Chinese Embassy in Belgium. Later on the day, the Pairi Daiza Zoo said in a press release that Xi's message is a welcome boost for the zoo teams involved in China's giant panda conservation program.

Giant pandas Xing Hui and Hao Hao arrived in Belgium in 2014 as ambassadors of China-Belgium friendship. After their first child Tian Bao, their twins Bao Di and Bao Mei were born on Aug. 8, 2019, said Cao, adding that these remarkable achievements in cooperation are a testament to the profound friendship between the two nations.

The zoo prepared special birthday cakes for the two stars of the day and organized a unicycle show by artists dressed up as pandas.

Domb has been fascinated by Chinese history and culture since childhood. "China's efforts to protect the environment should be more widely known," he said. "The giant panda was once an endangered species. China has acted to save the animals with unimaginable determination."

In his speech, Domb said the Chinese dream, and China's development and prosperity, are opportunities that can be shared. "It is our duty to show the beauty of China to the people of Europe," he said.

Jean-Pierre Degobert, a 79-year-old Belgian known as "Papy Panda," is a well-known fan of the pandas at Pairi Daiza Zoo. He visited almost daily to watch and take photos of the pandas over the past nine years.

"I never dreamed I'd have such a great social life because it has allowed me to meet a lot of panda enthusiasts from all over the world, and that's still going on," said Degobert. "We see each other regularly."

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


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