Pandas Wu Wen and Xing Ya receive warm welcome to Netherlands

Giant pandas Wu Wen and Xing Ya arrived in the Netherlands on 12 Apr 2017
Giant pandas Wu Wen and Xing Ya arrived in the Netherlands on 12 Apr 2017Photo: @OuwehandsZoo / Twitter

Chinese giant pandas Wu Wen and Xing Ya arrived safely in the Netherlands. After traveling nearly 8 thousand kilometers from Chengdu in China, they arrived at their new home in Ouwehands Zoo in Rhenen just before midnight on Wednesday, NOS reports.

The two pandas are on loan from China. They will be living in Ouwehands Zoo for the next 15 years.

Wu Wen and Xing Ya arrived at Schiphol on a KLM flight around 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, where they were met by about 120 journalists, the Chinese ambassador and a group of children. Various speeches were given, including by the Chinese ambassador and Marcel Boekhoorn, director of the Ouwehands Zoo. "I feel very happy", Boekhoorn said, according to RTV Utrecht. "What is happening here is so unlikely. Today a dream comes true." Boekhoorn was the one to arrange and finance the pandas arrival.

The arrival of the giant pandas in the Netherlands

Join us this Wednesday at 20.25 CET, as we will be the very first to welcome the two giant pandas from China to the Netherlands.

Geplaatst door KLM Royal Dutch Airlines op Woensdag 12 april 2017

Rhenen mayor Hans van der Pas was also at Schiphol to welcome the pandas. He spoke of a great day.

The pandas got a health check at Schiphol before being loaded into trucks and transported to Rhenen. There they were met by enthusiasts lining the streets, even though the pandas could not be seen inside the closed trucks. At 11:51 p.m. exactly they arrived at the zoo, according to NOS. Hundreds of panda fans were waiting for them.

The animals will spend between 4 and 6 weeks in quarantine, to recover from the stress of their journey. It is not yet clear when they will be allowed outside for the first time.

Not everyone was pleased with the pandas arrival. The youth division of animal party PvdD called on the government and Dutch zoos to stop using living creatures to strengthen diplomatic and trade relations, according to RTV Utrecht. 

Amnesty international released a video about the pandas arrival. "China executes thousands of people every year. Journalists are pestered. Lawyers are tortured. Anyway, we will not talk about that today", Amnesty spokesperson Emile Affolter said in the video. "Today is truly a day to look away."

Welkom in Nederland panda's!

Geplaatst door Amnesty International Nederland op Woensdag 12 april 2017