Sawadee ka! What is the best way to promote the message of animal welfare and environmental conservation? Well, you go ahead and take 1,600 sculpted pandas on an extensive world tour!
After traveling across the globe to countries such as France, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Taiwan, and Malaysia, the pandas (all 1,600 of them) are ready to bring their cute invasion to the “Land of Smiles” next month.
The 1600 Pandas World Tour project first began in 2008 when World Wildlife Fund (WWF) collaborated with Paulo Grangeon, the renowned French sculptor artist responsible for creating 1,600 papier mache pandas.
With over 30 years of experience under his belt, Grangeon was able to create the pandas in various poses, emotions, and sizes using recycled paper, as a symbolic representation of the amount of pandas left in the wild.
The 1600 Pandas+ not only refers to the population of wild giant pandas living in the wild at the project’s inception 8 years ago, Sukhumvit reports, but the plus symbol also celebrate the 17% increase in the giant panda population since then.
Jennifer Chan from Marketing Interactive also stated that this project has since “increased public awareness of ongoing wild giant panda conservation and an always symbolic reminder of the importance of sustainability in our natural environment”.
Following their would tour theme of “Initiating the Culture of Creative Conservation”, the 1600 Pandas World Tour in Malaysia made its debut at Dataran Merdeka on 21st December 2014, marking their third stop in the Asian region.
During their tour on our home soil, the 1,600 pandas left their adorable “paw prints” on more than 15 iconic locations in Peninsular Malaysia, with their final pit stop at Publika Shopping Gallery in Mont Kiara last year.
During their 2 weeks at Publika, the public had the opportunity to check out the pandas at close proximity. Apart from hugging and taking selfies with the pandas, visitors were also given the option to bring one of the pandas home to keep through an online adoption programme at RM150 each.
This year, the pandas are gearing up once again to remind people the importance of appreciating the richness of flora and fauna, and the on-going necessity to protect them from further deterioration in order to conserve these precious resources for the next generation.
It is likely that the format will see the 1600 pandas making their appearances at national landmarks and outdoor spaces throughout Bangkok. Thai organiser, Central Embassy, has not reveal the details of the locations but the 1600 Pandas World Tour Thailand will be a 1-month event – from March to April.
You can follow their journey and get their latest updates on their Thailand Facebook page here.