Copenhagen’s first pandas to arrive in April

Two panda bears will arrive at their new home at Copenhagen Zoo next month, after four years of preparations.

Copenhagen’s first pandas to arrive in April
File photo: REUTERS/Henry Romero/Ritzau Scanpix

The two Chinese pandas are scheduled to land at Copenhagen Airport on April 4th.

They are set to be welcomed with a royally-attended event following a few days of acclimatisation, Copenhagen Zoo said in a press statement on Monday.

The pandas, whose names are Mao Sun and Zing Er, are an official gift from China to Denmark. They were given to Queen Margrethe and Prince Consort Henrik during an official visit in 2014.

On April 10th, the Queen, Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen and a delegation of Chinese representatives will bid the black and white bears welcome at the zoo’s newly-built panda enclosure.

Crown Princess Mary, who on Monday was named as the zoo’s new protector, will also participate in the event.

The following day, guests will be able to visit the enclosure, which has been under construction for the last 18 months, and see the pandas for themselves.

READ ALSO: Iconic Copenhagen zoo elephant house to be demolished

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Copenhagen Zoo cut Taiwan from panda map to please China

Copenhagen Zoo removed a map showing Taiwan as independent after complaints from China, before getting two coveted pandas on loan, letters leaked to the 24syv radio station have revealed.

Copenhagen Zoo cut Taiwan from panda map to please China
Mao Sun, one of the two pandas romps around in Copenhagen Zoo in April. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen / Ritzau Scanpix
“The maps of China and the rest of the world at the panda enclosure are defective,” Chinese officials wrote in a letter to the zoo's management after inspecting yin-yang shaped facilities designed for the bears by star architect Bjarke Ingels. 
The map showing the animal's global distribution had marked the island of Taiwan in a different colour from mainland China, signalling its political independence. 
After receiving the letter, zoo officials removed the map ahead of the delivery of the two pandas, Mao Sun and Xing Er, in April. 
“The Chinese made us aware that they consider Taiwan a part of China,” the zoo told the station.
Bengt Holst, the zoo's scientific director, added that zoo management had tried to sidestep the issue by replacing the sign with another showing the distribution of pandas in mainland China alone. 
“In this way we avoided taking a decision either way. We knew very well that no matter what we did with such a sign, we would come across as political, and we're not interested in doing that, so we made a completely sign to avoid that debate,” he said.