Baby panda makes press debut at Japan zoo

A baby panda Xiang Xiang, born from mother panda Shin Shin on June 12, 2017, is seen during a press preview ahead of the public debut at Ueno Zoological Gardens in Tokyo, Japan December 18, 2017. (Reuters)
Updated 18 December 2017
0

Baby panda makes press debut at Japan zoo

TOKYO: A baby panda born six months ago made its debut before the cameras in Japan Monday, a day before a doting public gets an eagerly-awaited glimpse of the cuddly animal.
The panda named Xiang Xiang — derived from the Chinese character for “fragrance” — has sparked a media frenzy since its birth on June 12 at Tokyo’s Ueno Zoo.
Broadcasters aired live footage of the cub nimbly climbing a tree and chomping on bamboo in a special cage.
Along with local schoolchildren, selected media were permitted to watch and film the panda through a glass shield.
The public will get their first chance to see Xiang Xiang on Tuesday, the zoo’s first baby panda exhibition since 1988.
“Xiang Xiang has been thriving with the loving nurturing by mum Shin Shin,” Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said at a ceremony, describing the baby as “a new treasure of Tokyo.”
The panda cub weighs 12.3 kilos (27 pounds) and is the size of a medium-sized dog, zoo officials said, adding that it is in good health.
In order to reduce stress on the panda and avoid crowds, the zoo will limit the maximum number of visitors to 2,000 a day for a one- to two-minute slot until the end of January.
The zoo received nearly 250,000 applications for a lottery to see Xiang Xiang.
For avid panda fans who miss out, the zoo will offer a live stream of Xiang Xiang’s daily life from Tuesday for a year.
Mum Shin Shin, which mated with Ri Ri in February, had previously given birth in 2012 — the zoo’s first panda delivery in 24 years — only for the cub to die from pneumonia six days later.
Zookeepers have since given the adult pandas some private space in a bid to create an environment for the bashful creatures to mate successfully — a notoriously difficult process.
Until recently considered an endangered species, it is estimated that around 2,000 giant pandas remain in the wild, in three provinces in central China.


Ronaldo bust swapped at Madeira airport

Updated 18 June 2018
0

Ronaldo bust swapped at Madeira airport

LISBON: The controversial bronze bust of Cristiano Ronaldo at the airport on Madeira which bears his name has been replaced, Portuguese media reported on Monday.
“This bust is much better than the other one, that’s what everyone thinks,” Hugo Aveiro, brother of the five-time Ballon d’or, winner, told the Diario de Noticias da Madeira newspaper.
“A Spanish sculptor offered this new bust ... so good that we decided to change it,” he added.
The original was swapped Friday at the request of the Real Madrid superstar’s entourage, according to local media.
The original, by local artist Emanuel Santos, was unveiled 16 months ago at a ceremony to rename the airport after one of Madeira’s most famous sons, CR7 having been born in the capital Funchal.
But it was widely mocked, not least for its grimacing smile.
“The CR7 museum asked us to replace the bust in tribute to the athlete and we felt we ought to change it,” airport director Duarte Ferreira explained.
The Ronaldo museum opened in 2013 and a year later it unveiled a 3.40 meters (10 feet) statue which also caused some mirth owing to its figure-hugging shorts.
While his home island concentrates on his likenesses the real Ronaldo is busy at the World Cup. He notched a hat trick to earn a point against Spain a few hours after the airport bust was exchanged.