Panda cub wows crowds at Taiwan zoo

Panda cub wows crowds at Taiwan zoo

A six-month old giant panda has been unveiled to her adoring public in Taiwan, as long lines of children queued up at Taipei zoo to see the cavorting cub.

Yuan Zai’s debut had long been anticipated on the island of 23 million people.

With delighted visitors passing in front of her cage at the rate of 40 per minute, Yuan Zai showed off her climbing skills before retreating to mother Yuan Yuan’s embrace, then heading off for a nap. She currently sleeps 20 hours a day.

Zoo chiefs say they will be able to accommodate 19,000 visitors a day to see Yuan Zai, whose parents came to Taiwan from China in late 2008.

Their arrival was seen at the time as a high water mark in Beijing’s use of “soft power” in Taiwan, which split from the mainland amid civil war in 1949 and remains the object of unwavering Chinese attempts to bring it back into the fold – by persuasion if possible, by force if necessary.

But politics seemed to be about the last thing on the minds of Yuan Zai’s fan base as again and again visitors’ faces lit up with broad smiles amid giggles of glee and repeated cries of “how cute” or “how beautiful”.

Chinese giant pandas have been a hit all around the world, but they seem to have a special cachet in Taiwan, where animal figures are so much in vogue that Taiwanese airline company Eva Airways has found that festooning its aircraft in the livery of fictional Japanese figure Hello Kitty provides a powerful boost to sales.

More in this Section

What could happen next in the Brexit saga?What could happen next in the Brexit saga?

Defiant Boris Johnson says he will not seek new Brexit delay after Commons lossDefiant Boris Johnson says he will not seek new Brexit delay after Commons loss

Barcelona mayor appeals for calm after violent protestsBarcelona mayor appeals for calm after violent protests

Millions of people make journey to Iraqi city for pilgrimage of ArbaeenMillions of people make journey to Iraqi city for pilgrimage of Arbaeen


Lifestyle

These are the nail hues to choose this season, says Katie Wright.Perfectly polished: 5 autumn/winter nail trends you’ll actually want to wear

This early 19th-century table is one of a number of Irish lots at Sotheby’s Style, Furniture and Ceramics sale in New York on Thursday (October 24).Irish lots poised to add bite to Big Apple sale

Something for all at Hegarty’s auction in Bandon, says Des O’SullivanSomething for all at Hegarty’s auction in Bandon

Des O’Sullivan gives a preview of the Irish selection on offer at two sales in DublinPreview of the Irish selection on offer at two sales in Dublin

More From The Irish Examiner