Taipei City Government will form a task force soon to facilitate its bid to host the two giant pandas that China has offered as gifts to the Taiwanese people, Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (
Ma said that the city government's "panda task force," to be headed by his deputy Yeh Chin-chuan (
Noting that the zoo has been preparing for nearly 10 years to accommodate pandas, Ma said construction of the zoo's panda quarters is expected to be completed in the near future. He added that zoo keepers have been receiving special training on caring for pandas and that the funds required for the project are also in place.
PHOTO: GEORGE TSORNG, TAIPEI TIMES
After Shoushan Zoo in Kaohsiung decided to compete for the right to house the pandas, Ma said that Kaohsiung is welcome to enter the competition, although he believes Taipei is more capable of taking care of the animals.
Ma urged government agencies to accelerate their screening and assessment procedures on the import of the pandas so that the animals can be welcomed to Taipei's zoo when their new home is built, scheduled for early next year.
Stressing that pandas are protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and that there are only about 1,000 left in the world, Ma said that having them at the Taipei City Zoo would not be simply for entertaining visitors, but also to show the zoo's capabilities in conserving, nurturing and studying special wild animals.
The two pandas, very likely to be provided by the Wolong Panda Conservation District of Sichuan Province, are expected to attract more than 1 million extra visitors to the zoo each year if they are allowed to be brought to Taipei, Ma said.
Council of Agriculture Chairman Lee Chin-lung (
Local environmentalists meanwhile started a campaign yesterday to oppose Beijing's offer of two pandas, citing rehabilitation of the rare animal as their major concern.
Speaking at a joint news conference, activists from more than 30 environmental protection and animal conservation groups unanimously called on politicians on the two sides of the Taiwan Strait to stop sending animals as a gift to each other and urged them not to use the lives of innocent and endangered animals "in the name of peace" for their political games.
They decried Beijing's decision to send two pandas to Taiwan as an abuse of the endangered animals and contended that Chinese and Taiwanese leaders should make sure the pandas continue to live in their original habitat if they really care about the rehabilitation of these rare animals.
UNDER INVESTIGATION: Huang’s body was found just outside the bathroom and showed no signs of a struggle, and no alcohol or drugs were found Singer and actor Alien Huang (黃鴻升) was found dead at his home in Taipei’s Beitou District (北投) yesterday. He was 36. Huang was also known by the nickname Xiao Gui (“little ghost”). His body was found when his father went to check on him after being unable to reach him by telephone, and called emergency services to the house at 11am, the Taipei City Police Department said. Huang’s body, which was discovered just outside the bathroom, showed no signs of a physical struggle, and he appeared to have been dead for some time, police said, adding that no drugs or alcohol were
CONFIRMED IN PHILIPPINES: The CECC would conduct contact tracing for the migrant workers to determine if they had come into contact with elderly people or children Six Filipinos tested positive for COVID-19 upon returning home from Taiwan, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday as it reported a case of imported COVID-19 infection, bringing the number of confirmed cases in Taiwan to 500. Philippine authorities reported four of the cases through the National IHR Focal Point, while the other two were reported by the company that they had worked for in Taiwan. The six — five women and one man — are aged from their 20s to 40s, and worked as in-home care workers, domestic workers, factory workers and sailors in Taiwan, said Minister of Health and
TIME FOR CHANGE: Most of those at a public hearing organized by the DPP’s Chung Chia-pin also agreed that the Control Yuan and Examination Yuan should be abolished Taiwan needs a new constitution, as the current one was adopted in Nanjing in 1946, when the Republic of China (ROC) represented all of China, while the Control Yuan and Examination Yuan should be abolished, legal experts and academics said yesterday during a public hearing at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei. Chang Kun-sheng (張錕盛), a law professor and secretary-general of the Taiwan Administrative Law Association, said that it is time to draft a new constitution. The ROC Constitution was adopted during a National Constituent Assembly meeting in Nanjing shortly after World War II and before the Chinese Civil War had fully erupted,
The COVID-19 pandemic might not have originated from a seafood market in Wuhan, China, National Taiwan University College of Public Health professor Tony Chen (陳秀熙) said yesterday. While many countries are experiencing second waves of COVID-19 infections, many are also lifting lockdowns to revive their economies, allowing travelers to cross national borders, Chen said. Academics have been questioning whether genetic mutations in the novel coronavirus in different countries have made it more infectious, he added. Academics from different backgrounds have conducted phylogenetic analysis of SARS-CoV-2 genome sequences, he said, adding that the studies can help scientists understand how the virus spread among