Panda Gala at Dutch zoo raises half million euros for panda conservation

Updated 2017-06-16 09:26:40 Xinhua
Xingya, one of two giant pandas, is presented at the Ouwehands Zoo in Rhenen, the Netherlands, May 30, 2017. (Photo/Agencies)

Xingya, one of two giant pandas, is presented at the Ouwehands Zoo in Rhenen, the Netherlands, May 30, 2017. (Photo/Agencies)

A Panda Gala held at the Ouwehands Zoo in Rhenen raised a total of 470,888.88 euros (520,140 U.S. dollars) for the conservation of giant pandas in the wild, the zoo announced on Thursday.

To celebrate the arrival of giant pandas Xing Ya and Wu Wen in the Netherlands, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Ouwehands Zoo last Friday organized a gala event at Pandasia, the new enclosure of the giant pandas at the zoo.

The total sum of money raised will be used for a project in China that aims at preserving the giant pandas and their habitats in the wild.

This fieldwork project focuses on the improvement, restoration and connection of the natural habitats of giant pandas in the province of Sichuan in China. In addition, the behavior and distribution of pandas is researched.

Giant panda, a vulnerable species native to Southwest China, counts only 1864 individuals. Outside China, there are pandas living in 19 zoos in 14 different countries.

Xing Ya, the male giant panda, and Wu Wen, the female, arrived at Ouwehands Zoo in Rhenen on April 12 as a symbolical gift to the Netherlands by China.

After six weeks in quarantine, they were seen by the public for the first time on May 30. Both three-and-a-half-year-old, they will stay at Ouwehands for 15 years.

Ouwehands Zoo saw its dream of hosting giant panda come true after 16 years of consultations and preparations. In October 2015 a Dutch-Chinese agreement was signed in October 2015 during the state visit of the Dutch Royal Couple to China. The Netherlands is the seventh European country that hosts this endangered animal.

At their new home, designed like a Chinese traditional palace, Xing Ya and Wu Wen have separate indoor enclosure and outdoor enclosures totaling some 9,000 square meters.

A nursery is on standby -- during the precious three days of mating time every year, they will be invited to "get together" if they like each other.

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