1,600 Paper Giant Pandas On Display in Taiwan

By | Mar 01, 2014 01:47 AM EST

An estimated 250-thousand visitors graced the first day of an outdoor exhibit of paper-maché pandas that kicked off in Taipei Friday.

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The traveling paper pandas were created by French papier-maché artist Paulo Grangeon to raise public awareness on the plight of the endangered species.

After the inaugural exhibit in France in 2008, the paper pandas have toured 20 other countries prior to coming to Taiwan - their first stop in Asia.

The crowd that gathered at the Taipei City Hall plaza eagerly took photographs of the paper pandas and said they enjoyed the rare site but some wished they could get nearer to get a real feel of the art pieces.

Grangeon created 1,600 paper-maché pandas to dramatize the point that there are only 1,600 giant pandas living in the wild to this day. 

In 2008, two giant pandas named Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan were sent by China to Taiwan as gifts. Last year, Yuan Yuan gave birth to a cub at the Taipei zoo and it was named Yuan Zai. 

The paper panda exhibit in Taipei also includes 200 paper-maché Formosan black bears, also created by Grangeon, to educate the public about the existence of the bear species that is endemic to Taiwan.

The exhibit at the Taipei City Hall plaza will run until March 9, after which it will move to Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall plaza where the paper pandas will be on display from March 14 to March 30, organizers said.

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