Final preparations are underway in Taiwan to welcome two pandas from the mainland as goodwill gifts. And the island has announced it will send two rare species to the mainland in return.
Final preparations are underway in Taiwan to welcome two pandas from the mainland as goodwill gifts.
Taipei city zoo is offering the mainland two species that are special to the island. The sika deer is critically endangered, and the Formosan serow is a small but agile mountain goat. Both are native to Taiwan.
The exchange still needs approval from island authorities, but that is expected to be given. Over the past two years, the mainland has made friendly overtures to the people of Taiwan, but its offer of pandas had been rejected twice by the authorities before being finally approved.
Taipei City mayor Hau Lung-bin said, "The matter of pandas coming to Taipei Zoo needs to go through negotiation between Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation and China's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits. The Taipei city government is only passively cooperating. We respect the results of cross-strait negotiations, and will act accordingly."
However, the public in Taiwan are looking forward to the arrival of the rare and cuddly animals. The combined names of the gift pandas mean "unite", while the names of Taiwan's goat and deer said together mean "forever."
A Taipei citizen said, "They have black-circled eyes, and their eyes are wide open."
"I would be happy to see pandas, because they are cute." said a Taipei citizen.
About 1,000 pandas live in the wild bamboo forests of China's central and western regions. Beijing has loaned the endangered animals to nine countries since 1957.