Paper Pandas Have Taken Over Hong Kong

pandasembedPhoto: REX USA/James D. Morgan/Rex.
It looks like a lot of pandas. Hell, 1,600 sounds like a lot of pandas.
But, when you find out that 1,600 is the estimated number of giant pandas currently living in the wild, you realize it's not all that many pandas.
In conjunction with the World Wildlife Fund, French artist Paulo Grangeon created these papier-mâché sculptures in 2008 to represent the dwindling population of bears. They've been all over the world, including the foot of the Eiffel Tower.
Now the pandas have embarked on a multi-city tour of Asia, and, according to the Wall Street Journal, they're causing a bit of a stir.
Grangeon told the paper that people waited in "kilometer-long" lines to see the pandas in Taipei. Crowds in Hong Kong, where the bears are now on view, are just as amped.
For his part, the artist seems to be soaking up the celebrity that the artworks have afforded him:
"Sporting a Panama hat and blazer, Mr. Grangeon introduced himself, waving a paper panda and a Hong Kong flag. He was flanked by two models dressed in black patent-leather heels, strapless black-and-white minidresses and furry black panda ears.
"Mr. Grangeon waded into the sea of pandas. Photographers shouted, 'Paulo! Paulo!' as he tossed a panda up high in the air, catching it like a football. 'I look like the winner of the Tour de France,' Mr. Grangeon said after the display. 'No yellow shirt, but wow.'"
Hopefully, some of that enthusiasm will trickle down into even more giant panda activism, too. (WSJ)

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