Giant pandas to arrive in Belgium on 23 February
This was confirmed by the Walloon animal park Pairi Daiza and the transport company DHL.
The pandas will leave China after the traditional goodbye ceremony in the China Conservation and Research Centre for Giant Pandas.
When the pandas make their joyous entry in Belgium, a welcome ceremony will take place at Brussels Airport in Zaventem.
Next, the male Xing Hui and the female Hao Hao (photo) will be transferred to their new home in Pairi Daiza, in Brugelette in Hainaut Province (south-west of Brussels).
They should become a new major attraction in the huge animal park that is situated in the countryside near the city of Ath.
Pairi Daiza made some major investments to be able to accommodate the pandas, after the Chinese had set high standards.
At the same time, the project will focus on reproduction as giant pandas are a threatened species.
There are only an estimated 1,600 animals left, and they don’t get offspring very often, as the female is only ovulating once to maximum three times a year.
Moreover, giant pandas don’t easily mate in captivity.
Pandas are big business.
In the first place, Pairi Daiza hopes to attract more visitors and boost turnover figures.
On the other hand, China is asking money for giving the animals ‘on loan’.
There are no exact figures, but it believed to be between EUR 500,000 and EUR 1 million per year.
The Antwerp Zoo was also a candidate to host the pandas, but Pairi Daiza had more space to meet the high Chinese demands for the new panda house.
Flandersnews.be / Expatica