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Building closer China-Australia friendship through panda protection cooperation

Source: Xinhua Updated: 2024-06-17


Chinese Premier Li Qiang visits the Adelaide Zoo for China-Australia cooperation on panda protection and research in Adelaide, Australia on June 16, 2024. Li is on an official visit to Australia. [Xinhua/Li Tao]

ADELAIDE -- The fluffy and cute koalas in Australia are adored by travelers worldwide. Additionally, visitors can greet giant pandas in Australia, as it hosts the only pair of these cuddly animals from China in the Southern Hemisphere.

In 2009, Wang Wang and Fu Ni, a pair of giant pandas, traveled from southwest China's Sichuan Province to Adelaide Zoo, and have since resided in their "Australian Panda Home."

The zoo, where the two countries have been closely collaborating on panda protection and research, was the first stop of Chinese Premier Li Qiang's official visit to Australia on Sunday.

At the Panda Pavilion in Adelaide Zoo, Li heard reports from both Chinese and Australian experts on cooperative research on giant panda conservation between the two countries and the breeding and care of giant pandas in Australia.

Although far away from their homeland, Wang Wang and Fu Ni have been well looked after and settled down to live a happy life in Australia, he said.

For more than a decade, serving as envoys of the friendship between China and Australia, the panda pair have become a symbol of the profound friendship between the two peoples.

So long as both sides cherish it, the cooperation between China and Australia can cross the vast Pacific Ocean, transcend differences, and achieve mutual achievements and win-win results, Li said.

"We've been really fortunate to be home to Fu Ni and Wang Wang, the first giant pandas in the Southern Hemisphere outside of China," Phil Ainsley, director of Adelaide Zoo, told Xinhua.

"They've been with us now for 15 years. During that time, more than 5.5 million people have come to Adelaide Zoo to experience the giant panda, and that's been absolutely remarkable," Ainsley said.

Li also said that China will provide a new pair of giant pandas to Adelaide Zoo later this year and continue bilateral cooperation with Australia on panda protection.

The announcement received a warm round of applause from accompanying officials, including Governor of South Australia Frances Adamson, Premier of South Australia Peter Malinauskas, Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Penny Wong and Minister for Trade and Tourism Don Farrell.

The new pair of giant pandas will be equally beautiful and lovely, and will surely be welcomed by Australian people as well, said Li.

Expressing his hope that Australia will always be a friendly home for giant pandas, Li said that China is ready to continue cooperation with Australia on panda protection and research.

"It's been a really important thing for our staff to be able to learn from the experts in China, and also an opportunity for some of the Chinese experts to come and learn about what we know from giant pandas here at Adelaide Zoo," Ainsley told Xinhua.

With the help of Chinese experts, the zoo established its bamboo plantation. "We have 15 hectares where we grow more than 15 different types of bamboo, which is really important," Ainsley said.

"From a tourism perspective, the giant pandas have been very popular, and we would see a lot of international tourists from the Southern Hemisphere coming to Adelaide Zoo to see giant pandas, definitely from New Zealand, and some of them from southern Asian countries," said Ainsley.

During his tour at Adelaide Zoo, local primary school students sang a panda-themed song in Chinese for Li, who had a cordial chat with them. Li said that they are welcome to visit China, to see the birthplace and habitat of giant pandas, appreciate China's beautiful landscape and the Chinese culture, and turn themselves into little envoys of the friendship between China and Australia.

Li is on a three-nation tour from June 13 to 20. Besides Australia, he has paid an official visit to New Zealand, and will also visit Malaysia.


Chinese Premier Li Qiang communicates with local pupils while visiting the Adelaide Zoo for China-Australia cooperation on panda protection and research in Adelaide, Australia on June 16, 2024. Li is on an official visit to Australia. [Xinhua/Rao Aimin]