Pandas sent by China arrive in Qatar ahead of World Cup

Category : Sports

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. take up residence / teɪk ʌp ˈrɛz ɪ dəns / (idiom) – to live in a particular place

    Frogs have taken up residence in the school pond.

  2. enclosure / ɛnˈkloʊ ʒər / (n.) – an area that is surrounded by walls

    Thanks to glass enclosures, we can see wild animals closely without getting attacked.

  3. duplicate / ˈdu plɪ keɪt / (v.) – to produce an exact copy of something

    Have the house keys duplicated so you don’t need to knock whenever you come home.

  4. quarantine / ˈkwɔr ənˌtin / (v.) – to be separated from others for some time to avoid the spread of a disease

    I quarantined myself when I got chickenpox.

  5. shield / ʃild / (v.) – to protect someone or something from any harm or danger

    Use an umbrella to shield your skin from the heat of the sun.


Read the text below.

A pair of giant pandas sent as a gift from China arrived in Qatar on Oct. 19 a month ahead of the World Cup.

They are taking up residence in an indoor enclosure in the desert nation designed to duplicate conditions in the dense forests of China’s mountainous Sichuan province. Eight hundred kilograms (nearly 1,800 pounds) of fresh bamboo is being flown in each week to feed them.

Jing Jing, a 4-year-old male weighing 120 kilograms (265 pounds), has been given the Arabic name Suhail, and 3-year-old female Si Hai, at 70 kilograms (154 pounds), has been given the Arabic name Thuraya.

The pandas were quarantined for at least 21 days before visitors were allowed to see them.

Qatar has been expecting some 1.2 million visitors for the monthlong World Cup beginning Nov. 20. The gas-rich Gulf nation is the first Muslim or Arab country to host the world’s biggest sporting event.

Tim Bouts, the director of Al Wabra Wildlife Preservation, said that in addition to providing the perfect indoor climate for the pandas, the enclosure will also shield them from stressful noises while allowing them to interact with visitors.

“There was a lot of thinking which went into this building to make it, I think, the best building for pandas in the world,” he said.

Pandas, which reproduce rarely in the wild and rely on a diet of bamboo in the mountains of western China, remain among the world’s most threatened species. An estimated 1,800 pandas live in the wild, while another 500 are in zoos or reserves, mostly in Sichuan.

They are the unofficial national mascot of China, which has gifted pandas to 20 countries.

China’s ambassador to Qatar, Zhou Jian, said the two pandas “will live a happy life here and bring more happiness, joy and love to the people of Qatar and in this world.”

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • Giant pandas are considered one of the most threatened species in the world. Do you agree with giving giant pandas as gifts to other countries? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Climate change is one of the reasons why giant pandas are threatened in the wild. Like Jing Jing and Si Hai, do you think all the pandas in the wild should be put in zoos or reserves that guarantee a perfect indoor climate? Why or why not? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • If your country were to give other countries animals as gifts, what animals do you think your country should give? Why? Discuss.
  • Ambassador Zhou Jian said the pandas “will bring more happiness, joy, and love to the people of Qatar.” What animals make you feel happy whenever you see them? Why? Discuss.
Category : Sports