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'1600 pandas' to arrive in Taipei for attempt to raise awareness of plight

TAIPEI -- The Taipei City Government will host a paper panda exhibition in the capital city early next year to raise people's awareness of wildlife protection, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin said yesterday.

Taipei has signed a contract with French papier mache artist Paulo Grangeon to hold the “1,600 pandas” exhibition, and the two sides are currently discussing the date for the display, according to Left Brain, a marketing company that is helping the city organize the event.

The exhibition, aimed at reminding people that only 1,600 giant pandas remain in the wild, was launched by the French section of the World Wildlife Fund in a joint project with Grangeon in July 2008 at Paris City Hall, and it has since traveled across the globe.

The exhibition was held in Berlin, Germany in August this year.

Sun Tien-long, head of Taipei's Department of Information and Tourism, said the city government hopes that the Taipei exhibition can begin in late February or early March.

In addition to displaying the paper pandas outdoors at Taipei City Hall, the city government is also trying to find a large indoor venue for the exhibition, Sun said.

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