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Rare Animals Continue to Arrive in Tibet

Tibet on Wednesday welcomed the arrival of its first lion in history as a local zoo says more rare animals from the other parts of China and overseas are still on the way to this southwestern autonomous region.


Fei Fei, the 8-year-old male lion, finally stepped in to Norbu Linkag Zoo in the western suburbs of Lhasa, the regional capital, after three days and four nights of bus ride from Zhoukou City Zoo in central China's Henan Province.


To get a glimpse of Fei Fei, local Tibetans, however, have to wait for at least one week as the mammal has to undergo medical observation and adjustment to his new life about 3,600 meters above sea level before making his first public appearance, zoo officials said.


Fei Fei was in good spirits and roared for the first time on "the roof of the world," another name for Tibet, after he was relocated from the special bus to the lion park at the zoo, said curator Wang Qiuzhen.


No symptoms of altitude stress have been noticed, Wang said.


Two grey ostriches from South Africa and four blue peacocks also arrived at the zoo on Wednesday, following the zoo's effort to import a Siberian Tiger a month ago.


"The introduction of rare animals is part of our cooperation plan with Zhoukou City Zoo and was approved by the state forestry administration authorities," said Yang Guangqin, deputy director of Norbu Linkag Zoo Management Office.


"The new import of rare animals is to add to our display variety and promote local tourism," Yang said.


The introduction of other animals like elephants and sea lions is also on the zoo's working agenda, according to zoo officials.


Norbu Linkag, the largest palace garden in Tibet covering 360,000 square meters, was built in 1751 by the 7th Dalai Lama. Successive Dalai Lamas inhabited the palace, studying Buddhism until the age of 18. The Dalai Lamas, upon assuming power, moved into the Potala Palace, but from March to October every year, they returned to Norbu Linkag to perform administrative and religious duties.


(Xinhua News Agency April 8, 2004)

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