Children pose for a picture with panda toys at the Moscow Zoo. Photo by Zhao Cheng, People’s Daily
By Li Man, Bai Yang, Qu Pei, and Zhou Hanbo from People’s Daily
The panda house at the Moscow Zoo was crowded by eager visitors the first day it opened to public on June 6. Children were pressing their faces against the windows of the panda house, seeking the trace of the lovely creatures.
When Ding Ding, a two-year-old female panda born in Shenshuping base of China Conservation and Research Center for Giant Pandas in Wolong, southwestern China’s Sichuan province on finally appeared in the front of the crowd, laughter and applauses filled the panda house.
Children were running around as Ding Ding moved, and the panda house turned into a sea of joy.
“It’s our honor to have the pandas here,” said Svetlana Akulova, director general of the Moscow Zoo. She has been planning to restore the panda house since she took office, and now her efforts finally paid off.
After nearly four years of negotiation, an agreement was signed by China Wildlife Conservation Association and Moscow Zoo on the protection and research cooperation of giant pandas on Feb. 28 this year.
In addition to Ding Ding, another giant panda nicknamed Ruyi, born in Bifengxia Panda Base in Sichuan’s Ya’an on Jul. 31, 2016, also arrived at the Moscow Zoo.
Ruyi, together with Ding Ding, triggered sensation in Russia even before they started the trip to the country.
Starting this year, Russian media have covered almost all the stories of the two giant pandas, from their departure and arrival, to health and date of debut.
Giant pandas are valuable gifts, said Russian newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta upon the arrival of the pandas. Such remark is also the common aspiration of the Russian public.
Panda keeper Wang Pingfeng, who accompanied the pandas to Russia, told People’s Daily that the pandas had got used to the new environment very soon.
As a matter of fact, pandas are not new to the Russian public, as the Moscow Zoo had received five pandas, which aroused sensation every time.
An employee at the panda house told People’s daily that tons of people would flock into the place after the panda house officially opens, which would even trigger traffic jam in the Russian capital.
Now in the giftshop of the zoo, panda-themed fluffy toys, as well as lollipops, fridge stickers and key chains are very popular.
Natalia, a big fan of pandas wearing panda-themed dress and taking a panda bag and key chain, told People’s Daily that the dress was bought in Beijing. “I love the pandas very much,”, said Natalia, who’s phone case was also printed with panda pictures. According to her, she has watched pandas in the zoos of Beijing, Berlin and Madrid.
“I’m so excited to see them here in Moscow! Thank you, China!” Natalia said, adding that she might buy an annual pass for the lovely creatures.
Pandas are a symbol of the friendship between the people in China and Russia, said Akulova. This year marks the 70th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations, and extra importance has been attached to this valuable opportunity by the zoo, visitors, as well as the citizens in Moscow and Russia, she added.
“We are very proud because our Chinese partners have given us enough trust,” Akulova noted, adding that now China-Russia relations are at its best in history, which has created a favorable environment for the two countries to enhance personnel exchanges, cultural communication, as well as scientific and environment cooperation.
“Pandas have become one of the important symbols of the bilateral friendship between China and Russia,” she said.
A boy laughs after receiving a panda fluffy toy at the Moscow Zoo. Photo by Bai Yang, People’s Daily
Matryoshka dolls with panda images. Photo by Qu Song, People’s Daily
Ding Ding plays at the Moscow Zoo. Photo by Bai Yang, People’s Daily
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