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Archive for Saturday, November 28, 2009

Giant pandas welcomed with city party

November 28, 2009

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— Two giant pandas from China were welcomed to Australia on Saturday with gifts of bamboo and a city party before settling in to their new home, a 25-acre natural enclosure at the Adelaide Zoo.

Four-year-old male Wang Wang and 3-year-old female Fu Ni are on loan to the zoo for 10 years as part of a joint research program, and their arrival comes amid slightly strained relations between China and Australia.

Twelve life-size panda figures lined the runway at the Adelaide airport, where the animals’ flight was met by state Premier Mike Rann and other state and zoo officials holding a “Welcome” sign and branches of bamboo.

An 18-vehicle convoy of floats then left the airport for downtown Adelaide, where a parade through the streets was followed by a public party lasting all afternoon.

The pandas were to be given a police escort to the zoo, which built a$7.25 million enclosure that includes bamboo plants and refrigerated rocks to keep them comfortable in Adelaide’s hot summers.

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