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Giant pandas arrive in Australia
28 November 2009 05:09 am
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AUSTRALIA'S first giant pandas are enjoying their new Adelaide Zoo home after arriving in a climate-controlled semi-trailer escorted by police.

They arrived in Adelaide around 10.25am on a Singapore Airlines cargo plane named Mega Ark, reports Adelaide Now.

A small group of spectators holding a "Welcome" sign and bamboo greeted the plane on its arrival.

With the pandas still on the plane, an 18-vehicle procession left the airport and headed to Rundle Mall where a free party for the public was held.

Wang Wang and Funi were later taken to clear Customs with chief panda keeper Simone Bayly - who accompanied the pair during the flight from China, through Singapore.

"They're doing really well, they've been offloaded and they're just sitting now," Zoo spokeswoman Emily Rice said.

"They're in the quarantine area and they're very happy and relaxed."

A delivery of bamboo from China in addition to Australian stocks has arrived at their enclosure to ensure the pandas feel even more at home, Ms Rice said.

It will be another two weeks before the pandas go on display.

The official launch of the giant panda exhibit by the Governor General, Quentin Bryce, is scheduled for Sunday, December 13. Public viewing commences on Monday, December 14, but hourly viewing slots are filling fast.

Zoos South Australia chief executive Dr Chris West predicts 262,000 more people from overseas and 1.3 million Australians will choose to visit Adelaide because of the pandas in the next 10 years.

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