Two animals offered to Qatar, how China practices “panda diplomacy”

Qatar on Wednesday became the 20th country (excluding China and Taiwan) and the first in the Middle East to welcome two giant pandas, a four-year-old male named “Suhail” and a three-year-old female, “Soraya”.

Suhail is the name of one of the brightest stars observed in the Gulf region, while Soraya is the Arabic name for the Pleiades star cluster. The animals of 130 kilos for the male and 70 for the female undergo a mandatory quarantine of 21 days which will allow them to “get used to their enclosures and their new keepers”said Tim Bouts, chief veterinarian and zoological director.

“In a few weeks or a month, they will be ready to be presented to the public”, he added, while the opening date of the new “Panda House” (house of the panda), before the Football World Cup (November 20-December 18), has not been announced.

The “biggest” enclosures in the world

In front of a group of children and the media, the bears, who left China the day before with two Chinese keepers, discovered their enclosures in a huge building whose wood and glass architecture recalls the mountains of central China. These enclosures, located in Al Khor (about 50 km north of Doha), are “the greatest in the world”said Fatma Abdulla Al-Abdulmalek, project manager at the public works authority in Qatar.

Giant pandas leaving China for the Middle East for the first time! ?
On October 18, female giant #panda Si Hai and male giant panda Jing Jing took a special flight from #Chengdu Shuangliu Airport to #Qatar to start their 15-year life. ??????

via. iPanda pic.twitter.com/b3ybW26nwU

— Pandada_Chengdu (@Pandada_Chengdu) October 19, 2022

“These two pandas bring the best wishes of the 1.4 billion Chinese people to the Qatari people, and especially success for the World Cup”, assured AFP Zhou Jian, the Chinese ambassador to the rich gas emirate. China uses its pandas as gifts to strengthen ties with other countries, which is called “panda diplomacy”.

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