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Animals in 'Life of Pi' pique public interest

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Taipei Zoo, which allowed its animals to appear in Ang Lee's blockbuster “Life of Pi,” said the film's worldwide success has attracted crowds to the zoo.

The 3-D movie, which received 11 Academy Award nominations earlier in the week, has piqued widespread public interest, said zoo spokesman Chang Chi-hua.

“The Formosan black bear is probably the most popular,” Chang said.

The 4-year-old bear used in the movie is called Brown Sugar and appeared comfortable both when being filmed and looked at by visitors, Chang said.

The zoo said it is in discussions with the movie company over the possibility of erecting signs related to the movie to help visitors identify a total of nine animals used in the film, which include Malayan tapirs, flamingos, leopards and ring-tailed lemurs.

“Life of Pi,” an adaptation of a novel by Canadian author Yann Martel, uses computer-generated imagery to tell the story of a 16-year-old Hindu boy who survives a shipwreck and is stranded on a lifeboat for 227 days with only animals for companionship.

The movie, directed by Taiwanese-American director Lee had earned nearly US$400 million at box offices worldwide as of Friday, making it the Oscar-winning filmmaker's highest-grossing work.

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Visitors crowd to have a glimpse of the 4-year-old bear Brown Sugar at the Taipei Zoo, yesterday. The bear's popularity has risen significantly after appearing in Ang Lee's blockbuster “Life of Pi,” the Zoo said.(CNA)

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