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Chinese giant pandas arrive in Qatar on 1st trip to Mideast
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Chinese giant pandas arrive in Qatar on 1st trip to Mideast

Qatar on Wednesday welcomed the arrival of two giant pandas, under the first giant panda cooperation program between China and the Middle East region.

Upon arrival in Qatar's capital Doha, the pandas, three-year-old female Si Hai and four-year-old male Jing Jing, were immediately transported to the Panda House at Al Khor Park, their new home in the Gulf country.

The pandas have also been given two Arab names, Suhail for Jing Jing and Soraya for Si Hai, by Qatar.

Mohammed Al Khouri, director of the Public Parks Department of the Ministry of Municipality of Qatar, told Xinhua that in traditional Arabic culture, Suhail and Soraya are two stars in the sky, which embody auspiciousness, sublimeness, and invaluableness.

Football fans coming to watch the World Cup 2022 in Qatar next month would have the chance to see pandas, which are the national treasure of China, he added.

The Qatari side will cooperate with their Chinese counterparts in conservation research on the status of giant pandas living in the desert climate, said Al Khouri.

At the welcome ceremony in the Al Khor Park, Chinese Ambassador to Qatar Zhou Jian said the giant panda conservation research cooperation between China and Qatar is the first panda cooperative project in the Middle East, which reflects the new height of China-Qatar relations.

In May 2020, China and Qatar signed a cooperation agreement on giant panda protection and research to promote international cooperation on panda protection and the protection of biodiversity and endangered species of the two countries.

Both Jing Jing and Si Hai were born in the Wolong Shenshuping panda base under the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda in southwest China's Sichuan Province.

Under the agreement reached between China and Qatar, the panda couple will live in Qatar for 15 years.

XinhuaGu Yetao

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