The zoo, which is hoping to welcome a pair of giant panda’s from China in the spring, spent €7m on the compound which was reportedly judged by the Chinese as one of the most beautiful they had seen so far. An earlier version did not pass muster but was improved to meet the exacting standards of the Chinese zoo authorities.
‘It’s an incredibly beautiful, traditionally Chinese building. We really went all out on it,’ zoo director Robin de Lange told the broadcaster.
Ouwehands Dierenpark had been trying to persuade the Chinese to lend them a pair of pandas for 15 years. A royal state visit to China in 2015 speeded up matters. The zoo is hoping that Wu Wen (Beautiful Powerful Cloud) and Xing Ya (Elegant Star) will be feeling sufficiently at home to produce offspring.
The cost of the new compound plus the €900,000 a year fee means that entrance tickets will be more expensive: visitors will be paying a so-called ‘panda tax’, NOS said.