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Chinese pandas arrive in Denmark to mixed response

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Chinese pandas arrive in Denmark to mixed response
Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix
18:21 CEST+02:00
An opinion poll has found that just under 50 percent of people are pleased that Copenhagen Zoo is now home to two Chinese pandas.

Mao Sun and Xing Er completed their journey from China to the Danish capital earlier this week, the culmination of years of planning and the construction of a special enclosure at Copenhagen's Zoo.

The public was able to visit the pandas for the first time on Thursday.

According to a poll of 1,115 representative individuals conducted by Voxmeter, just under half of people in Denmark agree with the decision to bring the pandas to the country.

In the poll, respondents were asked whether Denmark should have accepted the two pandas from China. 49.4 percent answered yes, while 30.4 percent gave the opposing response.

The pandas still belong to China, as do any cubs they might produce in future.

Their arrival has met with both excitement and criticism.

Critics include the Tibet Support Committee, a Danish organisation committed to improving conditions for the Tibetan people. The committee argues that, by accepting the pandas from China, Denmark is collaborating with a country that has violated the rights of Tibetans.


Protestors with Tibetan flags outside Copenhagen Zoo on Thursday. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

Others do not see the pandas as a political issue. The poll found that 50.3 percent did not consider the bears' presence at Copenhagen Zoo as affecting the Danish government's ability to criticise China. 36.9 percent said it was a factor.

Just over half of those asked, at 52 percent, felt that the agreement for Denmark to loan the pandas would improve business opportunities between the two countries.

Although the zoo hopes to improve ticket sales with its new guests, their immediate impact was moderate, according to a spokesperson for the attraction.

“There are a few more visitors than normal for a Thursday, but I don't think we'll break any records today,” head of press relations Jacob Munkholm Hoeck said on Thursday afternoon.

READ ALSO: Copenhagen Zoo starts work on new panda enclosure

 

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