An integral part of education is teaching children about real-life issues and events such as conservation, animals and international trade and travel. The recent story of two four-year-old Giant Panda’s named Hao Hao and Xing Hui gives educators (and parents, in the case of most homeschoolers) an opportunity to discuss all of these things in an interesting way that is especially delightful for animal lovers.
Hao Hao and Xing Hui are two giant pandas that were born and raised at the “China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda.” This organization is working hard to maintain the livelihood of giant panda’s; endangered species with a high rate of infant deaths. With their numbers dwindling, breeding programs are essential to the survival of the giant panda as well as making the public aware of the plight of panda’s which will hopefully increase interest in helping support the care of these creatures.
On February 23rd Hao Hao, a female, and Xing Hui, a male, were transported by plane from China to Belgium where they will be put on display at a privately owned zoo and public garden known as Pairi Daiza. The panda’s arrival has been long awaited and many members of the public are eager to see the creatures in the habitat that will be their home for the next fifteen years. However, the panda pair will be given a few weeks to get adjusted to their new surroundings and will not be on view to the public until April 2014. Hopes are high that the pair will produce healthy babies that will further drive up interest in and awareness of the need to support the stabilization of the species.
The story of the two panda’s journey has made international news and social media is abuzz with updates about the event. Such digital media platforms have made it easier than ever for anyone to comment about the couple’s move. Hao Hao and Xing Hui even have their own Twitter account (which is managed by their human friends) that enables them to “tweet” news to the world. As of February 24th, the pair reported arriving safely in Belgium and being excited to start this exciting new chapter in their lives. Their Twitter page can be found here:
This story is an example of how conservation can help save a species and how international trade can help increase human interest in animals that are not native to the territories. For youngsters who are learning lessons about the environment, conservation and animals this story is especially interesting because it proves that humans can play a positive role in the continued sustainability of other creatures that have often been negatively affected by our actions such as pollution and rapid city expansion.
Good luck and well wishes for many happy years in Belgium, Hao Hao and Xing Hui!