Wien, 4. December 2007 Press release

Plassnik: "Fu Long is a symbol of the vulnerability of nature and the animal world"

04.12.2007

Foreign Minister as godmother of the Giant Panda cub in Schönbrunn

Vienna, 4 December 2007. "Fu Long is a token of the close relationship and friendship between China and Austria", stressed Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik today at the ceremony during which the hundred-day Giant Panda cub in the Schönbrunn Zoo was officially given a name in the presence of China's Ambassador Wu Keng and a Chinese delegation headed by the General Secretary of the China Wildlife Conservation Association, Yang Bajin.

Plassnik: "I hope that these scientific contacts will contribute to further broaden and deepen relations between the two countries." The Foreign Minister, who became the godmother of the first naturally conceived Panda in Europe, also said "I wish to thank all those in China and Austria who contributed to the development of the Panda Project. I know how many efforts were required, not least the loving care by General Director Schratter and her staff in the Schönbrunn Zoo.

The Foreign Minister described Fu Long as the "youngest Ambassador for the protection of species." Plassnik: "The Panda is a symbol of the vulnerability of nature and the animal world. The care we give to the young Panda is something we should actually show toward all living beings".

Plassnik expressed three wishes for the young Giant Panda's future: "That Fu Long, the lucky dragon, will continue to do well. That he stays healthy. And that he will enjoy a harmonious family life as during his first hundred days".

The Foreign Minister assumed that she was chosen to be the godmother because her first name, Ursula, also means "small bear". Plassnik added: "I am glad that, until now, we only had to bring bears from China, not dragons."

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