The history of pandas in Madrid is closely linked to Queen Sofia and King Juan Carlos. In 1979, the first pandas appeared at the Madrid Zoo, a gift from China to Spain. On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Madrid Zoo, the Honorary Queen was invited to the first outdoor walk of the panda cubs, who are 6 months old.
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The history of pandas in Madrid is linked to King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia.
The Madrid Zoo opened its doors in June 1972. Since then, the zoo has grown a lot. In 2022, there are 1300 individuals of 333 species in the zoo of the Spanish capital. Animals are distributed over the continents on an area of 22 hectares.
In 1979, after the first official trip of King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia to China, the Chinese authorities presented the sovereigns with two pandas as a symbol of good relations between the two countries. The King and Queen of Spain have entrusted the animals to the Madrid Zoo.
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Panda cubs emerge from their enclosure for the first time
On March 21, 2022, Honorary Queen Sofia returned to the Madrid Zoo to attend the first release of panda cubs Jiu Jiu and Yu Yu, who just turned 6 months old. The twins weighed only 100 grams at birth and now weigh 15 kilograms.
Tras la photo de familia con la placa memory del #50aniversarioZooMadridQueen ha presenciado la primera salida a la pradera de los gemelos de panda jiu jiu y you you, tras cumplir seis meses de edad.
— Casa de SM el Rey (@CasaReal) March 21, 2022
The 50th anniversary of the Madrid Zoo curiously coincides with the birth of the panda cubs, as well as the extension of the Madrid Giant Panda Conservation Agreement through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums of China. The Madrid Zoo participates in 63 programs for the conservation of endangered species such as the white and Indian rhinoceros, the giant Amazonian otter, the Bornean orangutan or the imperial eagle and others.
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During this visit, Queen Sofia was accompanied by the President of the Community of Madrid, Isabel Diaz Ayuso, the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China, Wu Haitao, and the Mayor of Madrid, Jose Luis Martínez Almeida. The anniversary ceremony was also attended by various representatives of universities and veterinary clinics.
After the video was shown, the honorary Queen Sofia received a board from which photographs of the queen were selected during her various visits to the zoo over the decades. A new family photo was taken next to a memorial plaque unveiled on the occasion of the 50th anniversary.