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Pandas fed chicken soup in C. China zoo
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The current national holiday Chinese people are celebrating also meant a feast for the captive animals in Wuhan, the Hubei Province capital.

Thursday's Changjiang Times reported Wuhan Zoo had experienced an influx of tourists in the first four days of the "golden week" holiday that began on Monday. Wednesday's peak resulted in the arrival of about 30,000 visitors.

The animals at the zoo were all overworked in keeping the visitors entertained. Zoo keepers tried their best to give the animals extra nourishment and to help them regain their fitness.

Male pandas Xiwang and Weiwei, which literally means "Hope" and "Greatness," were brought to the central zoo in June from the quake-ravaged China Research Center for Giant Panda Protection at Wolong in Sichuan Province.

The pandas, who recently celebrated their third birthday on Aug. 30, became restless and were running about around 10 a.m. on Wednesday when more than 1,000 tourists had gathered, talking loudly in the hall where the bears were housed.

Fearing the pandas might have too much shock and fatigue, their keepers prepared the pair chicken soup for lunch, hoping it could pacify them and replenish vital energy.

"Being first timers for such a recipe, the panda pair finished all the soup placed in the jars within no time," said the newspaper.

Other animals, including sea lions, red pandas, monkeys and chimpanzees also received special meals on the day.

The national holiday, which marked the 1949 founding of the People's Republic of China on Wednesday, ends on Sunday.

(Xinhua News Agency October 3, 2008)

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