EDINBURGH, Scotland, Sept. 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Three panda ambassadors speaking up for giant pandas shared their knowledge with local audiences Tuesday morning during their visit to the Edinburgh Zoo.
This is the fifth highlight media stop for American girl Melissa Katz, Jerome Pouille from France and Erica Chen Yinrong from China, during their global tour calling for protection of wildlife.
Chosen from 1.16 million applicants worldwide, the trio representing the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding talked about their experiences and understanding, and interacted with audiences during a Q&A session.
The audiences responded warmly, answering questions they asked so as to get a gift.
Pouille, a biologist who started his own website about pandas in 2002, was glad to see many of the audiences were high school students.
"This is the first time in these stops that we have so many children listening to our talk," he said. "Education is the first part of conservation. You need to tell people why. And children is our next generation. Some of those sitting here might be politicians in the future. They have the planet in their hands."
Chen, 27, was impressed by the response of fans during her tour.
"They know more than we thought," she said. An example was two elderly ladies listening to their talks. "They could point out fragmentation as a cause why pandas are endangered."
As for Katz, the Edinburgh stop was special because "pandas are new here and still a phenomenon, and people are waiting for the birth of cubs".
Iain Valentine, director of giant pandas project at Edinburgh Zoo, noted the visit of these Pambassadors "a good opportunity to get people interested".
"Panda is an easy one to talk about, to whom people are passionate," he said. "In fact, it is not only about pandas, but the habitat of all wildlife that we need to protect."
The three panda conservation ambassadors officially kicked off their Global Panda Protection Tour on August 23 in Hong Kong. They have traveled to 11 countries and regions before coming to the UK, and will wrap up their visit in Tour, France.
Giant pandas as one of the most endangered animal species in the world. Statistics showed a population of about 1,600 living in the wild, mostly in the mountainous areas of southwest China's Sichuan province, while more than 300 live in captivity.
Edinburgh is the only city in the UK that houses pandas, after Yang Guang and Tian Tian, or Sunshine and Sweet were sent to the Edinburgh Zoo in 2011 on loan for a period of 10 years.
SOURCE Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding