My roommate laughed, telling me I looked like a panda in my Pambassador t-shirt and white sunglasses, as I set out to view the temporary 1600 Pandas display at Chiang Kai Shek Memorial. The promise of 1600 pandas in Taipei on the metro convinced me visit the physical embodiment of a conservation message: only 1600 giant pandas remain in the wild.
Throngs of people poured into the space to see the papier-mâché pandas (and 200 Formosan black bears) lounging around in various poses and formations. Setting up the display was probably a lot of fun, and I heard that the positions of the pandas changed every evening for viewers the next day.
Large giant pandas and Formosan black bears were stationed around the perimeter as another photo opportunity, and there were volunteers informing the public about conservation in addition to a merchandise tent. My Mandarin is not so good, so I mostly enjoyed the main spectacle – a unique way to capture the public’s attention to inform them about the endangerment of a very special species.