Berlin Zoo Director Andreas Knieriem speaks during an interview with Xinhua in Germany's capital Berlin June 21, 2017. Berlin Zoo will build a paradise for Chinese giant pandas "Meng Meng" and "Jiao Qing" to make them "feel at home," Andreas Knieriem said on Wednesday. The pandas will arrive at the zoo on June 24. (Xinhua/Shan Yuqi)
BERLIN, June 22 (Xinhua) -- Berlin Zoo will build a paradise for two Chinese pandas to make them "feel at home," the zoo's Director Dr. Andreas Knieriem said on Wednesday.
The new villa of Jiao Qing and Meng Meng covers an area of some 5,500 square meters with a vermilion archway and bamboo fence, and was in the last stage of interior decoration.
The old Chinese pavilion, damaged during World War II, was also renovated on a high ground for visitors to watch the black-eyed bears more clearly.
"We will make our best efforts to make the pandas feel at home here," Knieriem told Xinhua.
He added that the zoo had sent its top Ursidae experts to the pair's home of Chengdu in southwestern China to study their life habits and breeding techniques.
It's not the first time for Berlin Zoo to receive pandas from China. In 1980, China sent Bao Bao and Tian Tian as a state gift for visiting German Federal Chancellor Helmut Schmidt.
Bao Bao died in 2012 at the age of 34, making it one of the longest-lived one in its species.
Knieriem said the Berlin Zoo had since 2014 sought to invite and rent new pandas. A joint study project was agreed on by the two sides in 2015.
"In my eyes, pandas are a symbol of peace and friendship, and can remind people of the necessity for nature conservation," he noted.
Meng Meng and Jiao Qing, set to arrive in Berlin on Saturday, have blown a panda fever in Germany. The zoo opened an on-line blog for them to brief the public on the everyday progress it made to greet the animals.
The zoo, reportedly the most popular one in Europe that received more than 3.3 million visitors last year, expects the two pandas to become a highlight in the future and attract more tourists.