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Giant Pandas from China on Public Display at Belgium Zoo Pairi Daiza

Fri April 04 2014 1:38 pm
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Two giant pandas went on public display at a zoo in Belgium on Thursday. They arrived at Pairi Daiza zoo almost a month ago, having been leased by a conservation and research center in southwest China’s Sichuan province.

Two Giant Pandas – a male panda Xing Hui (which means Twinkling Star) and female Hao Hao (which means Cute) – arrived on a chartered Boeing 747 on Sunday, February 23, 2014. The celebrity pandas from the Wolong National Nature Reserve in Sichuan, Southwest of China China went on public display at Belgium’s Pairi Daiza zoo yesterday. They have their own official Twitter feed (

Pairi Daiza, formerly known as Paradisio, is a privately owned 140-acre zoo and botanical garden located in Brugelette in the province of Hainaut in Belgium. The zoo is located on the site of the former Cistercian Cambron Abbey, and is home to over 4,000 animals. The abbey was founded in 1148 by Anselme of Trazegnies, a canon from Soignies. In the 18th century the abbey was completely rebuilt. Cistercian Cambron Abbey was formally dissolved in 1783 under the Emperor Joseph II, and vacated in 1789. Monks were able to return the same year after some political resolution, a dissolution was finally effected in 1797. Cistercian Cambron Abbey was later sold to the Counts of Val de Beaulieu, who built a large château on the site and whose property it remained until 1993. Cistercian Cambron Abbey was then sold to the Domb family, who set up a zoo here, the present Pairi Daiza.

The panda’s garden has plenty of bamboo to chew on.

Algoa Bay is an above-water and below-surface view of the zoo’s South African fur seals and penguins habitat.

The Nautilus is a habitat of coral reefs, lagoons, and tropical waters, sea urchins, starfish, anemones, crabs, and jellyfish, stingrays, sharks, moray eels, and barracuda.

The Cathedral Aviary is one of the largest aviaries in Europe — providing a habitat for scarlet ibis, American flamingos, cattle egrets, purple-crested turacos, stroks and vulturine guineafowl.

The Mersus Emergo exhibit is a replica of the English whaling vessel Mersus Emergo that was in service from 1870 to 1914. The Mersus Emergo exhibit opened in 2003 The Mersus Emergo includes the SOS Biodiversity exhibit, which was created in collaboration with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF —, which highlights current threats to the planet and ways in which visitors can take action to help minimize these threats.

Falconry Village opened in 2007 with several large aviaries for birds of prey including African fish eagle, Andean condor, bald eagle, caracara, eagle-owl, kites, osprey, snake eagle, Steller’s sea eagle, and many types of vultures.

The zoo is home to five Asian elephants and one African elephant that are accompanied by a trainer and caretaker and allowed to walk along the paths with the visitors.

At the zoo there are also several gardens including a Chinese garden “The Dream of Han Wu Di,” an Indonesian garden “Kingdom of Genesha,” a rose garden, Spanish-inspired Andalusian garden, and an olive garden.

The two giant pandas share their own 5,300-square-meter garden with two residences — one 130-square-meter residence for the male, and one 120-square-meter residence for the female.

Giant pandas, extraordinarily loved worldwide for their cute appearance and pleasant mood, are native to China and are one of the most endangered animal species in the world. There are only 1,590 giant pandas globally, with 300 in captivity, according to Gu Xiaodong, who is head of the protection of wildlife in Sichuan.

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