Meet Pit and Paule – China's famous pandas living at Berlin Zoo
Updated 01:12, 13-Oct-2022
Peter Oliver in Berlin

They are among the most famous Chinese residents of the German capital.

Berlin's pandas have been among the biggest attractions at the largest zoo in Europe ever since being loaned by China in 2017. And in 2019, Meng Meng (female) and Jiao Qing (male) added to their numbers when Meng Meng gave birth to twin males Meng Xiang and Meng Yuan, whose names mean "long-awaited dream" and "dream come true."

The mischievous young pandas, nicknamed Pit and Paule by locals, turned three in August. Eventually they will move on, as pandas would in the wild at the right age; in this case, it will most likely involve a flight to China.

However, there isn't currently a set date for the boys to leave Berlin.

Right now, the two brothers are in the Panda equivalent of difficult teenage years – sleeping a lot and craving some independence from their mother.

As keeper Corvin Schmohl pointed out on their birthday in August, one of the biggest challenges in looking after adolescent pandas is keeping them interested and active.

"Providing the animals with a variety of stimuli and activities is an important part of being a good zookeeper," he said.


Berlin's panda history

The brothers' parents are the third pair of pandas to be loaned to Berlin Zoo. They have been lent for 15 years as part of an agreement between Berlin and Beijing designed to allow more people worldwide to experience these magnificent animals up close.

A new "Panda Garden" enclosure was built at the cost of around $10 million, and was opened to the public by Chinese President Xi Jinping and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The Pandas at Berlin Zoo are a massively popular attraction. /CGTN
The Pandas at Berlin Zoo are a massively popular attraction. /CGTN

The Pandas at Berlin Zoo are a massively popular attraction. /CGTN

Berlin Zoo has been home to pandas since the 1930s. Its most famous bear resident before the current family was male Bao Bao. When he died in 2012 aged 34, he was believed to be the oldest panda living in captivity.

The zoo is the oldest in Germany, first opening its doors in 1844. It is widely regarded as being home to one of the most comprehensive collections of animal species on the planet.

More than 20,000 animals from almost 1,400 species all live in the 35-hectare park in the center of Berlin. 

Regularly drawing in more than three and a half million visitors each year, it is one of the German capital's biggest tourist attractions – and one of the most visited zoos in the world.

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