Bao Bao and Yan Yan were once stars at the Berlin Zoo. Now dead, the stuffed animals are the centerpiece of a new exhibition at the Museum of Natural History in Berlin.
Bao Bao is currently the last panda to have graced Berlin. He was a gift from the Chinese government to then chancellor Helmut Schmidt in 1980, and remained a zoo attraction until his death in 2012. China also loaned Berlin a female panda bear, Yan Yan, in 1995. Breeding experiments with the couple failed, and Yan Yan died in 2007.
Now they can both be seen at the Berlin Museum of Natural History. The special exhibition "Panda" also presents the latest research insights from Berlin and Paris about anatomy, hunting and the lifestyle of the species. Visitors can also observe live pandas – via a webcam transmitting real-time images from a breeding facility in China.
The World Wide Fund for Nature, co-organizer of the exhibition, classes pandas as one of the most endangered species on the planet. In southwestern China there are only 1,600 specimens left. "Pandas are far more than an endangered species," comments Volker Holmes, head of species conservation for WWF Germany. "They are a symbol of how we humans deal with nature on Earth."
KS/AK/eg (dpa, b.z.)