Pandas protected as symbol of national identity

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes

A delegation from Aotearoa New Zealand is in Chengdu, China ahead of the Opening the Doors to the West Business Forum. Te Ao Māori News checked in on the livelihood of their most prized animal, the Panda.

Managing Director for China Travel Service (N.Z), Lisa Li said, "Panda, absolutely so cuddly, and looks so cute, I mean by just looking at it you feel you really wish to give a cuddle".

A symbol of national identity, Pandas are protected by the Chinese Government.

"It's chubby, it's cute, and also because it's an endangered species everyone feels like they're so precious and get a feeling that you really want to protect it", says Li.

According to the World Wildlife Foundation Giant Pandas are no longer classified as "endangered" they've been downgraded to vulnerable on the global list of species at risk of extinction.

A delegation host from Chengdu said, "It's representative of China and it's lovely right? When we protect the Panda, actually, we are protecting our environment because the living place of Panda is so important."

Now there are more than 200 Pandas in Chengdu.

"New Zealand Kiwi love Chinese Panda, and so when Chinese come to New Zealand to promote Chinese tourism, you don't have to see anything you just show them Pandas, 'oh yeah that's China, I want to go to see Pandas", said Lisa Li.

A city of 16 million consumers and 8% GDP growth, Chengdu is a logical choice to investigate for New Zealand suppliers.

The Opening the Doors to the West Business Forum coincides with the New Zealand China Year of Tourism 2019.