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Press Release

Brussels 02/05/2014

DHL and Pairi Daiza are pleased to announce the upcoming arrival of the giant pandas Hao Hao and Xing Hui to Belgium

This arrival is scheduled to take place on February 23rd at Brussels Airport. The pandas will be transported from China after a traditional “farewell to pandas” ceremony. This will happen at the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda (CCRCGP), in the presence of CCRCGP officials, Chinese authorities and the President of Pairi Daiza, Eric Domb.

A short welcome ceremony is planned on the apron of Brussels Airport on February 23.

After the ceremony, DHL will transport the pandas to their new home in the heart of the Chinese Garden in Pairi Daiza.

NOTICE:

Media wishing to cover the arrival of Hao Hao and Xing Hui at Brussels Airport are invited to register latest Thursday February 20th by 12h00 AM by sending an email to francoise.gilson@pairidaiza.eu. (register e.g. John Smith 01/12/1980 DHL)

Please also provide ID card numbers of attending journalists. This is needed in order to enter the cargo area of the airport.

Further information will be provided next week.

Hao Hao and Xing Hui, both aged four, will join Pairi Daiza for a period of fifteen years, as part of an ambitious scientific research and reproduction program with giant pandas. With the help of the scientists of the veterinary department of the University of Ghent, the scientists who will monitor the female Hao Hao and the male Xing Hui will conduct research to stop the extinction of pandas.

This extraordinarily popular but endangered species, a true icon of the animal world, has a total population of only 1600 alive today.

Only four European zoos (sixteen in the world) have until now obtained the privilege of welcoming them from China.

For Hao Hao and Xing Hui, Pairi Daiza has built a beautiful area inspired by Sichuan, immersed in the Chinese Garden, which is considered one of the most beautiful in the world.

Chinese panda experts have called this infrastructure “the most innovative ever seen” and have stated that it is “perfectly adapted to the needs of pandas”.

Hao Hao (meaning "Nice") has recently been elected "favorite panda of China" at the Giant Panda Zoo Awards. She was born to a famous family since her mother Huamei is the first giant panda in the world to be born abroad (San Diego, USA) before returning to China. Huamei gave birth to nine cubs.

Xing Hui (meaning "Sparkling Star") also has a special history. He and his twin brother Xinrui were born on a very special day. On the day of their birth, a solar eclipse (which happens every three hundred years) swept the sky of Ya'an (Sichuan). They were the first panda twins in 2009.