Two giant pandas on loan from China have been unveiled at a zoo in central Finland and they have frolicked, galloped, climbed trees and played in the snow after a month-long quarantine. Hua Bao, a 4-year-old male, and 3-year-old female Jin Baobao arrived in Finland on January 18 and were immediately renamed Pyry (“Snowfall”) and Lumi (“Snow”) in Finnish. The Ahtari Zoo, 330 kilometers north of Helsinki, built a special Panda House annex for the pair. China agreed to loan the pandas for 15 years as a gift to Finland, which celebrated 100 years of independence from Russia last year. China has presented pandas to countries as a sign of goodwill and closer political ties, with Finland being the first Nordic nation to receive them.
CHINA TO IMPOSE ANNUAL FISHING BAN IN YELLOW RIVER
China will ban fishing in the Yellow River, the second longest river in the country, between April 1 and June 30 each year starting from 2018, according to the Ministry of Agriculture. The fishing ban aims to protect aquatic organism resources and biodiversity as excessive fishing threatens fishery resources. It will cover the main stream, three major lakes, and 13 tributaries linked to the Yellow River, the ministry said in a statement. Fishing for scientific studies, taming and breeding purposes during the ban period should be approved by authorities of provincial or higher levels. China has already imposed a fishing ban along the Yangtze River, the longest river in the country. The annual ban, which runs from March 1 to June 30, covers the spawning season for most of the river’s aquatic life. It includes the entire river as well as key tributaries and lakes.
ADOPTION HELPS KEEP OLD BUILDINGS ALIVE IN SHANXI
Last March, Shanxi began allowing individuals to “adopt” old buildings that had fallen into disrepair, channeling private capital into the protection of antiquities. Most of the buildings up for adoption are not old enough to be eligible for government protection. Under the deal with the local authority, adopters have the right to use the building for 30 years after committing 1.2 million yuan (about USD180,000) to its renovation. Shanxi has more than 28,000 old buildings of historic value, the most among China’s provincial-level localities. But only about 3 percent of them are covered by government protection grants, despite recent increases in funding. Nearly a year into the program, 34 old buildings have been adopted and 14 of them renovated.