Panda-monium hits the city

By Staff reporter

The artist behind the invasion of panda sculptures says the focus should be on conservation, not cuteness

By Staff reporter |

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Papier-mâché pandas are winning the hearts of Hongkongers. They checked in at the airport on Monday and popped up at the Big Buddha on Lantau Island, the first stop on their "tour" of the city, yesterday.

But their creator says he hopes fans focus on conservation, not cuteness, when visiting the 1,600 panda sculptures - one for every panda left in the wild.

French sculptor Paulo Grangeon (pictured) said he would rather have the fans think about how to save real pandas, and support the work of the tour's organiser, conservation charity WWF.

"I don't want to make this event only about taking photos," he said. "I hope 10 per cent think [about conservation], and 5 per cent become new [WWF] members."

The pandas will visit locations across the city over the next two weeks.

They will then go on display at the former police married quarters in Central from June 25 to July 17.

Between 300 and 1,000 pandas will join "flash mobs" at each of these venues:

June 14, 1pm to 4pm: Tsim Sha Tsui clock tower

June 19, noon to 2pm: Victoria Park, Causeway Bay

June 20, noon to 3pm: Trams from Sheung Wan to Chai Wan

June 21, 8am to 10pm: Statue Square in Central