Ocean Park Supports Global Naming of “UNDP Pambassadors” and
Global Search for “UNDP Panda Envoys” to
Raise Awareness on Giant Panda Conservation and
Promote United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the China Wildlife Conservation Association, the Sichuan Province Wildlife Conservation Association, the Sichuan Province Giant Panda Conversation Foundation, and the Chengdu People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries officiated the launch of Global Naming of “UNDP Pambassadors” and Global Search for “UNDP Panda Envoys” in Chengdu, China today. In hopes of raising awareness on giant panda conservation and promoting UNDP’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Ocean Park will join hands with 20 zoos from 12 countries to support this meaningful campaign. In addition to providing assistance in recruiting local candidates, the Park is also selected as Hong Kong’s filming venue for the “UNDP Panda Envoys” application submission video.
Starting today, the public is invited to submit names for the “UNDP Pambassadors” – a pair of twin giant panda cubs – and apply to become a “UNDP Panda Envoys” via the campaign’s official website (www.sdgpanda.org).
To compete for the title of “UNDP Panda Envoys”, candidates are required to submit a selfie video taken with giant pandas or the campaign’s promotional panels at Ocean Park, or at the other 23 supporting zoos via the campaign’s official website. A total of 17 “UNDP Panda Envoys” will be chosen from around the world, and will be invited to participate in “A Tour to Giant Pandas’ Hometown” in China. During the tour, the Envoys will assist giant panda keepers to take care of the panda cubs born in 2015, learn about the current situation of wild giant panda conservation, visit primary and middle schools located in impoverished areas, compete to become “UNDP Public Welfare Envoys”, and tour around Chengdu and Dujiangyan to experience the unique Sichuan culture.
Mr. Patrick Haverman, Deputy Country Director of UNDP China, said, “The conservation issues of giant pandas are closely related to the UNDP’s 17 SDGs, in particular, the issues about climate change, terrestrial habitat protection and renewable energy sources. Through this campaign, we hope to raise public awareness about the conservation issues of giant pandas and other endangered animals, and inspire the public to become advocates for protecting them.”
Being one of the campaign organisers, Dr. Zhang Zhihe, Director of the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, said, “The Base has already bred 203 panda cubs (through 133 births) from six sick or starving giant pandas that remained after a series of rescue operations in the 1980s. With 152 surviving pandas, the Base is currently home to the world's largest breeding population of giant pandas under human care. Through this global naming campaign for the cubs of the Base’s giant panda Qing He, we hope to raise awareness of the importance of protecting this rare species and their habitats.”
Ocean Park’s giant pandas play an important role as conservation ambassadors in Hong Kong. Since the arrival of the first pair of giant pandas, An An and Jia Jia, in 1999, as well as the second pair of giant pandas, Le Le and Ying Ying, in 2007, over 42 million guests have visited the giant pandas at Ocean Park, while over 4 million students and visitors have participated in giant panda-related educational activities at the Park. Meanwhile, Ocean Park and Ocean Park Conservation Foundation, Hong Kong have invested over $45 million on giant panda conservation, education and scientific research initiatives, as well as post-earthquake rebuilding efforts in Sichuan.”
Over the years, Ocean Park has made significant contributions in elevating standards of panda care, thrice co-organising workshops on aged panda care with the Administration to engage in exchanges with panda caregivers from around the world and share insights and experience. Standards in panda care have been raised in recent years, evidenced by increasing longevity of pandas. Last year, 37-year-old Jia Jia set the world record as the eldest giant panda ever under human care. Whilst An An, who is 30, is the world’s second oldest living male giant panda under human care.