The oldest zoo in Germany, which has been, until 2012, the home of the oldest male captive panda in the world, has recently welcomed a pair of giant pandas who have gone on display on 6 July.
A Chinese festival has been organized at Zoo Berlin to mark the meeting between Meng Meng, Jiao Qing and the enthusiastic public (6-9 July). The trees around their enclosure have been adorned with red lanterns, there were Qingcheng martial artists showing off their skills, musicians playing a bamboo flute, Chinese tea served and dozens of people standing in line to see the bears.
Needless to say, they are already beloved. The arrival of the panda pair in Berlin, on 24 June, marked almost 5 years since the zoo’s Bao Bao, who had been the oldest male captive panda in the world, died at 34, without having produced an offspring. Meng Meng and Jiao Qing, who are young animals, able to reproduce, have been taken from a panda breeding center in China after intense negotiations, as a loan from the Chinese authorities. According to the zoo’s website, they are the only pandas in Germany and are hosted in a 5,000 square meters Panda Garden, complete with climbing apparatus, a swing, and a rocky water course, situated close to the Elephant Gate entrance of the zoo. Bao Bao has not been forgotten though, a statue of his being placed near the enclosure.
The Giant Panda is listed as endangered species in the Red List of Threatened Species published by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The herbivores are only found today around the Chinese provinces of Szechuan, Shaanxi and Guangzhou. The last wide-scale panda census showed that, in 2014, at least 1,864 Giant Pandas were living in the wild.
If you are not crazy about pandas, you should know that Berlin Zoo is an attraction by itself. It has been around since 1844, it hosts 20.000 animals (from 1.600 species) and incorporates a large Aquarium (the most popular in Germany).