Giant Pandas in Russia: Pair of pandas settling into new home at Moscow's zoo
Updated 17:27, 09-Jul-2019
Two giant pandas from southwest China's Sichuan Province are settling into their new quarters at Moscow's zoo, after arriving in late April. They're on long-term loan -- part of an agreement between China and Russia. After spending the early weeks in quarantine adapting to their new setting, the pair are now on public display. As CGTN's Aljosa Milenkovic reports -- three-year old male Ru Yi and two-year-old female Ding Ding are already superstars.
Patient fans are lining up in huge numbers every day here in Moscow. They are not waiting to buy concert tickets for mega pop stars like Christina Aguilera, J. Lo or Miley Cyrus.
No, they're here to see a pop-duo currently much bigger in Moscow than any of them.
ALJOSA MILENKOVIC MOSCOW "Thousands of people visit the Moscow Zoo on a daily basis. During peak season, the number of visitors can reach up to 70 thousand. Now, most of them come to see zoo's newest stars – Ru Yi and Ding Ding - two pandas from China's Sichuan province."
Ru Yi and Ding Ding are so big, they even made the agenda during Xi Jinping's recent state visit to Russia. Russian President Putin was happy to show off their new pavilion.
Now, thousands of children from all over country are enjoying the sight of these two furry bears.
This is Leonid, he is from city of Taganrog, 11-hundred kilometers from Moscow. Maria and Ksenia, with their mother Anastasia came from the city of Zheleznodorozny, while this group is from Moscow.
"We are here to draw animals. We've just finished drawing a giraffe and now we came to draw pandas."
"My dream was to see pandas and in this Zoo my dream came through."
Fans are clearly ecstatic to have Ru Yi and Ding Ding in Moscow. But how have the pandas adapted to the new surroundings, almost 6-thousand kilometers away from home?
IRINA OVCHINNIKOVA MOSCOW ZOO RESEARCHER "The pandas adapted quite fast, thanks to the adequately prepared conditions here for them. There was no sharp change of the micro-climate. Inside the pavilion, the conditions are very similar to Sichuan, where they came from."
For now, Ru Yi and Ding Ding are being kept apart. But when they reach a certain age, they'll be introduced, and zoo officials hope nature will take its course and little pandas will follow. So, then what?
SVETLANA ACULOVA CEO, MOSCOW ZOO "If they join and Moscow Zoo sees their offspring, in accordance with the agreement between the two countries, those small pandas can be here for three years and when they reach the age of four they will go back to China."
So, if and until that happens, zoo visitors can enjoy arguably the biggest stars Moscow has ever seen. Up to 70,000 fans a day. Every day. All summer. Miley Cyrus, eat your heart out.
Aljosa Milenkovic, CGTN, Moscow.