Qatar: Pandas sent by China arrive ahead of World Cup

Two giant pandas sent to Qatar as a gift from China ahead of the World Cup have arrived in the Gulf state.

The bears will be kept in an enclosure designed to replicate the dense forests of China’s mountainous Sichuan province where they live.

Eight hundred kilograms of fresh bamboo will be flown in each week to feed them.

The pandas were given new Arabic names before making the journey. Suhail, a 130kg male, was previously known as Jing Jing, while Soraya, a 70kg female, was called Si Hai. They face 21 days of quarantine with two keepers after their arrival, said Al Khor’s zoological director Tim Bouts.

Authorities have not yet said whether a new Panda House will be ready by the time the World Cup starts.

Pandas are the unofficial national mascot of China, which has gifted pandas to 20 countries.

China’s ambassador to Qatar, Zhou Jian, said the two pandas “will live a happy life here and bring more happiness, joy and love to the people of Qatar and [the] world”.


The National

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