Though we’ve heard some pretty sweet rumors about notable celebrities coming to town for the expo (was that David Beckham that just walked by us on Nanjing Road’s pedestrian street?), it seems that a number of dignitaries are en route to Shanghai as we speak. In fact, there are ten of them, and we’d have to say they’re the cutest thing that the expo has yet to offer (Sorry, creepily British Haibao!). Of course, we just have to be talking about pandas!
The ten pandas, currently being airlifted from their home at the Wolong Giant Panda Protection and Research Center outside of Chengdu, should be arriving at Hongqiao airport sometime today. The VIPs (very important pandas, of course) even get their own chartered flight and emergency passageway at the airport, as pandas are just too large for
life the airport’s normal thoroughfares. After landing, they’ll be escorted to the Shanghai Zoo, where they’ll stay on display for six months before heading to the Shanghai Wildlife Zoo for the duration of their yearlong vacation.
There is some concern that the pandas, all of whom were born after the May 2008 earthquake, will have trouble adapting to their new home. Naturally, officials are doing their best to make sure the transition is smooth: the Shanghai Zoo already built a new, palatial panda house for its temporary residents and its regular three pandas. In addition, the zoo has outsourced two new plots of bamboo around Shanghai, as the local varieties of chute are different from those in Sichuan.
Among the funnier points is that one panda is actually named “Olympics,” which may be the most egregiously uncute name for a panda ever. We wonder if there will be any little “Expo”s running around by the end of the year: if only Haibao could get the pandas to mate, it would be a bona fide expo miracle!
Image from treehugger.com