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Taiwan cities "fighting" to host mainland pandas
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Taipei and Taichung cities and Hsinchu County have been vying to host a pair of pandas from the mainland, ever since Ma Ying-jeou's weekend victory in Taiwan's elections, according to Taiwan-base media.

The spokesman for Taipei's zoo said that the zoo has planted bamboo -- a main food for the animal, and will complete its building of a panda home. Moreover, the zoo has sent veterinarians to Europe, the United States, Beijing, Hong Kong and Sichuan, to study how to take care of the pandas.

Taichung mayor Jason Hu said Monday that he had proposed to Taipei mayor Hau Lung-bin, "Let the pandas first stay in Taichung for two years."

Taichung has planned to allocate 120 million NT dollars (over 4 million US dollars) to build a panda home in a local resort, covering an area of 3,000 square meters.

Last August, Hsinchu County completed the building of a panda house in an amusement park. The park has sent four staff to study in Sichuan Province, home to the pandas. A manager of the park said that they want to compete with Taipei on a level playing field.

(Xinhua News Agency March 26, 2008)

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