A pair of giant pandas offered by China to Qatar arrived at Al Khor this Wednesday (19) ahead of the World Cup next month.
The animals, 3-year-old Thuraya and 4-year-old Suhail, will be housed at the newly created Panda House in Al Khor Park. This site is an enclosure in the desert nation that will duplicate the conditions of the dense forests of China’s mountainous province of Sichuan.
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Pandas will be quarantined for at least 21 days before visitors can see them. They will be fed 800kg of fresh bamboo, which will be transported weekly to the animals.
Qatar expects around 1.2 million visitors for the World Cup which is set to start on 20 November.
Thuraya and Suhail, offered by China to Qatar ahead of the World Cup, were greeted by dozens of children carrying panda-shaped toys and waving Qatari and Chinese flags.
Children see a panda bear outside a glass in Al Khor, Qatar — Photo: REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed
According to the Chinese portal “China Daily”, the animals must remain in the country for approximately 15 to 20 years.
The measure is known as “Panda diplomacy”, a characteristic of the way the Chinese conduct international relations: they give or lend the bears to countries they intend to get close to.
A child sees a giant panda outside a glass in Al Khor, Qatar — Photo: REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed