Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin is the most important guest the Shanghai government is receiving this week, at least to many. But apparently not everyone thinks so. A giant panda at the Shanghai Wild Animal Park yesterday ignored the high-fibre bun the mayor threw to its feet when he was visiting the park to discuss details on exchanging some rare species with Shanghai. Though snubbed, the mayor's 'animal diplomacy' emerged unscathed. 'A caring nature and a love of animals are indicators of a city's development,' Mr Hau said. 'Taipei would like to see more exchanges with Shanghai on biodiversity conservation.' He said he was happy to see the pandas at the Shanghai park and hoped the people of Taipei could see the long-awaited arrival of Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan soon. The two pandas, which Beijing offered as a goodwill gift to Taiwan, are expected to arrive by the end of the year. The panda deal was agreed when Lien Chan, former Kuomintang chairman, visited the mainland in 2005, but former Taiwanese president Chen Shui-bian, who was pro-independence, rejected the gift. After Ma Ying-jeou became president in March this year, Beijing and Taiwan agreed to revive the offer. Frank Lin Hwa-ching, chief executive of Taipei's wildlife conservation and research centre, said: 'They will come when the weather is cooler, because it will be easier for them to adjust. They are recovering from the shock of the devastating earthquake [in Sichuan province ].' Although Hsinchu, Kaohsiung and Taichung are also competing to give the pandas a home, Taipei is almost certain to be the winner, as it has spent NT$250 million (HK$64.1 million) on building a house and bamboo grove for them. Construction will be completed in September. Under the exchange programme the two cities agreed to yesterday, a golden monkey will arrive in Taipei as early as next year. In return, Taipei will give an orangutan to Shanghai. Shanghai will also send a Yangtze alligator and a lesser panda to Taipei for a breeding programme. The Taipei park will send a white-handed gibbon and a Malayan sun bear to Shanghai for breeding. Mr Hau arrived in Shanghai on Monday to close a deal that will allow Taipei to join the 2010 World Expo, marking the island's first official return to a world's fair since it was ousted from the UN in 1971. On Tuesday, the mayor told of his vision of turning Shanghai and Taipei into a type of economic partnership by using opportunities arising from direct flights between the mainland and Taiwan, which start next week. Yesterday, he met Shanghai travel business representatives and had dinner with Taiwanese businessmen. Today he will sign the World Expo deal and is scheduled to meet his counterpart, Shanghai Mayor Han Zheng .