Ocean Park and Sichuan Forestry Department Jointly Presents Sichuan Week Giant Panda Art Global Exhibition Kick-off in Hong Kong
Ocean Park, in collaboration with the Sichuan Forestry Department, will be presenting Sichuan Week, during which the Park will play host to the exclusive presentation of “Pandaful Art – Global Exhibition”, a world-touring exhibition featuring over 20 giant panda-themed artworks, all showcased in Hong Kong for the first time, by five renowned artists from China, Spain and France, at the Applause Pavilion from 20 to 29 May. The exhibition venue will also feature interactive multimedia displays to advocate for wildlife conservation and deepen guests’ understanding about the work of nature reserves in Sichuan Province. The Park today also provided updates on the health conditions of the Park’s four giant pandas, including aged pandas An An and Jia Jia, who are both in satisfactory health despite living with common geriatric conditions; and Ying Ying and Le Le, who have resumed their normal routine after the conclusion of their two-day mating season last month. Although Ying Ying has not displayed any signs of pregnancy, animal carers will continue to closely monitor her condition and ensure she receives the best care.
Today’s launch ceremony was officiated by Mr. Tom Mehrmann, Chief Executive of Ocean Park; Mr. Matthias Li, Chief Executive-elect of Ocean Park; Mr. Yao Sidan, Director of Sichuan Forestry Department; and the five participating artists, namely Mr. Zhang Zhihe, a Chinese photographer specialising in panda photography; German-Chinese artist Mr. Zhang Qikai; France-based artist Mr. Tian Ye; Mr. Alejandro Santafé from Spain; and Mr. Camille Rophé from France. Also premiered at today’s ceremony was the music video of “Ban Ni Hui Jia” (literally “Accompany You Home”), sung by Chinese singer Lao Lang, revered as China’s “Father of Folk Songs”. This new song was produced, written and composed by an experienced production team comprising veteran producer Huang Xiaomao, renowned for producing countless classic hits; lyricist Liang Mang, who wrote lyrics for numerous blockbuster movie theme songs; and famous singer-songwriter Luan Shu.
Mr. Yao Sidan, Director of Sichuan Forestry Department, said, “Last year, Ocean Park and Sichuan Forestry Department signed a memorandum of understanding on further collaboration in conservation and education efforts. We are grateful to Ocean Park for their dedication and contributions, and for co-organising Sichuan Week to raise awareness of wildlife conservation and promote cultural exchange between Sichuan and Hong Kong.”
Mr. Matthias Li, Chief Executive-elect of Ocean Park, said, “Ocean Park is committed to fulfilling its educational mission through diverse approaches. The panda-themed art exhibition enables us to further expand our educational platform by raising concern for wildlife through art. To help the public connect with nature, we signed a new agreement today with Sichuan Forestry Department to collaborate on various initiatives from now until 2020, including the display of videos and images captured in the wild in Sichuan; and furthering exchange on training and enhance public awareness about wildlife conservation through different initiatives in Hong Kong and Sichuan. Besides presenting animal ambassadors and educational programmes, we will also join hands with the different nature reserves in Sichuan to organise eco-tours to the resource-rich Sichuan province, enabling the public to encounter giant pandas and various rare animals and learn about their habitats. Participants can better understand the importance of nature conservation and adopt sustainable practices in their daily lives.”
Latest Update on the Park’s Four Giant Pandas
Having been living in Ocean Park for 17 years, Jia Jia and An An, respectively the world’s oldest-ever giant panda and second oldest male panda under human care have been making significant contributions in promoting panda conservation. Before coming to Hong Kong, Jia Jia had already given birth five times to six panda cubs, making her a model mom. Her daughter Guo Guo took after her by giving birth five times to eight cubs, including Ping Ping and An An, the first set of pandas born after the Sichuan Earthquake worldwide. And Jia Jia’s youngest great-granddaughter, Bing Bing, is now 9-month old.
Both in advanced age, Jia Jia and An An, are living with geriatric conditions such as high blood pressure and cateracts. Whilst their conditions are often negatively affected by seasonal changes, they are considered in satisfactory health. Mr. Howard Chuk, Senior Curator of Terrestrial Life Sciences of Ocean Park, said, “We care for the two older giant pandas very much like senior members of our family, so ensuring they can enjoy the highest possible quality of life is our utmost priority. Their respective ages, 37 and 29, are equivalent to 111 and 87 in human age. Jia Jia’s right eye has recently caused lens dislocation, which could potentially lead to permanent blindness. Even though the lens had slipped back into position after the application of medicated eye drops, recurrence of lens dislocation is probable. Nevertheless, Jia Jia has been particularly vulnerable during the summer in recent years, often exhibiting lethargy and a lack of appetite. Although An An is younger than Jia Jia by eight years, the pace of his aging is also concerning. Indeed, he is less able than Jia Jia in chewing bamboo leaves. Our animal care team will continue to closely monitor their condition and consult giant panda experts in Sichuan to relieve any discomfort they may experience and develop the most appropriate treatment plan while keeping their best interest in mind.”
Mr. Howard Chuk added, “Our younger giant pandas Ying Ying and Le Le completed their sixth mating season last month. Natural mating attempts were observed but were unsuccessful. The Park also administered artificial insemination on Ying Ying twice in hopes of increasing her chances of pregnancy. Ying Ying’s conditions will continue to be closely monitored by our animal care team on a daily basis through periodic behavioural observation, as well as blood and urine sample collection. If she becomes pregnant, we expect to observe signs in late July of this year at the earliest.”
World-touring Panda-themed Art Exhibition Stages in Hong Kong for First Time
Presented in Hong Kong for the first time, the world-touring panda-themed art exhibition, “Pandaful Art – Global Exhibition”, features over 20 pieces of artworks created by five artists who have taken inspiration from the giant panda. Every piece of artwork portrays the creator’s affections, memories and reflections of the giant panda, and together inject a variety of styles and creativity into the exhibition. Among the exhibiting artworks are photos of panda cubs with adorable postures caught on camera by Mr. Zhang Zhihe from Chengdu Panda Base; oil paintings which integrates elements in everyday life with surrealism created by Zhang Qikai, a surrealist painter from China; visually impactful oil paintings produced by France-based Chinese artist Tian Ye; sculptures using three primary colours, red, white and blue by Spanish artist Alejandro Santafé; and art installations created by combinng different textures by French artist Camille Rophé. Before arriving in Hong Kong, the exhibition was presented in Yongin in Korea and will next travel to Beijing, Tokyo and other worldwide locations.
Interactive Multimedia Displays Showcase Wildlife Conservation in Sichuan
In addition to panda-themed artworks, the Applause Pavilion will feature a number of interactive multimedia displays to allow guests to learn about Sichuan wildlife and conservation. Displays include footage of China’s two largest panda bases in Dujiangyan; an interactive panel presenting information on seven protected areas in Sichuan, including Wolong, Chengdu Zoo, Chengdu Panda Base, etc. A video showing the development process of a panda cub will be aired at the interactive photo zone to offer guests unique photo opportunities with adorable panda cubs as the backdrop. Visitors can also ponder over 40 precious infra-red photographs of Sichuan wildlife such as giant pandas, golden monkeys, red pandas and more. The photographs offer a unique and rare glimpse into the animals’ natural behaviour and habitat in the wild. Guests can also cast a vote in support of their favourite protected area to receive in-park spending vouchers. Upon returning the completed voting forms to the collection box located inside Rainbow Gallery, guests will receive a HK$100 souvenir discount coupon (with minimum spending of HK$300).
Besides working with the Sichuan Forestry Department on a wide range of conservation and education initiatives, Ocean Park previously participated in various post-earthquake reconstruction projects in Sichuan. In 2013, Ocean Park signed the “Sichuan-Hong Kong Wolong Post-Reconstruction Collaboration Agreement” with the Development Bureau of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and Sichuan Forestry Department to collaborate on the sustainable development of Wolong, and was appointed by the HKSAR Government in 2014 as the Administrator of the Sichuan-Hong Kong Wolong Post-Reconstruction Collaboration. Among the 25 collaborative projects, “The Wolong Sustaining Tourism Development Plan” is one of the key projects which aims to help Wolong make the best use of HKSAR-funded facilities, and complement resources in the nature reserve to develop eco-tourism, thereby achieving balance among conservation, economic progress and social development. Besides, in the past two fiscal years, Ocean Park Conservation Foundation, Hong Kong (OPCFHK) sponsored three workshops on panda disease and pathology. Ocean Park’s veterinary and research teams also joined the workshop to share their experience in animal care and the promotion of conservation with mainland participants. Since 2000, OPCFHK has allocated more than HK$24 million in funding giant panda conservation projects, supporting scientific research, community education and rebuilding of nature reserves.
Spicy Sichuan Dishes Challenges “Heat” Tolerance and Limited-period Discounts to Treat Panda Fans
Ocean Park has invited Master Chef Yang Xihui from Sichuan, China to lead the preparation of various most typical Chuan dishes that combine numbing heat, spicy hot, fresh and piquant aromas, offering our guests a unique opportunity to appreciate the fresh and hot-spicy taste of authentic Chuan cuisine. From 19 to 31 May, guests can visit Panda Café, and enjoy over a dozen signature dishes, specially selected by Chef Yang, including Sliced Boiled Pork Rolls with Mushed Garlic Sauce, which highlights the chef’s exquisite slicing skills; Stir-fried Marinated Duck Tougues with Sichuan Chili; and Sautéed Shredded Beef with Bamboo Shoot in Chili Sauce which features a selection of chilies and peppercorn.
During Sichuan Week, guests can also enjoy 30% discount on all panda merchandise, and receive a panda-themed face painting service at the special price of HK$20 if they purchase a giant panda headband. Other discounts during Lovely Panda Month remain on offer, including two-for-the-price-of-one offer for “Honorary Panda Keeper Programme”; exclusive for local guests, the Park is also offering up to 25% discount for up to two admission tickets purchased on the same day to guests whose Chinese or English name matches specified characters or letters related to the theme of panda. (Details can be found on Ocean Park’s official website).