The world’s cutest animal is coming to the Middle East for the first time this year, and it’s right here in Qatar!
The World Cup isn’t the only exciting thing happening this year. Qatar is set to open the region’s first-ever Panda Park by the end of this year, sources told local Arabic daily Arrayah.
The construction of the modern habitat, located at Al Khor Park, is around 70% complete, with the remaining work close to being finalised. The park is expected to be open to the public in the second half of this year, the source added.
Qatar’s Panda Park will accommodate the needs of the pandas expected to come all the way from China to the Gulf nation.
The white and black fluffy animals live mainly in temperate forests high in the mountains of southwest China. Their diet consists almost entirely of bamboo, with each requiring around 26 to 84 pounds of it every day, depending on what part of the bamboo they are eating.
The cute animals digest only about a fifth of what they eat. However, they need to have at least two bamboo species where they live, or else they will starve. This caused the species to be endangered due to the use of the plant in several manufacturing needs.
In captivity, the giant panda can also eat honey, eggs, fish, yams, shrub leaves, oranges, or bananas along with specially prepared food.
The panda shelter has been in the works since August last year when Ashghal announced that it invited tenders for the construction of the enclosure, which is built according to a set of standards and conditions that enables a suitable environment and climate for pandas.
Despite their popularity, the giant animals’ populations are vulnerable. In total, there are fewer than 1,900 in the wild, according to the Smithsonian National Zoo. Meanwhile, around 300 pandas live in different zoos around the world.
It is a one-of-a-kind project in the region and upon opening, will be the first panda habitat in the Middle East and Arab world.