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Taiwan pangolins to join Czech Republic zoo

Taiwan mammals gifted to Prague as friendship token of sister cities' friendship

Taiwan pangolins to join Prague Zoological Garden. (Facebook photo)

Taiwan pangolins to join Prague Zoological Garden. (Facebook photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Taipei City government has presented several Taiwanese pangolins to the Prague Zoological Garden to celebrate the friendship between the two cities.

A formal sister city agreement between Taiwan and the Czech city of Prague was inked last week, making the central European city the 50th sister city of Taipei. The signing of the document proved to be significant after Prague scrapped a similar deal with Beijing over its "one China" policy.

According to CNA, Prague Mayor Zdenek Hrib has on previous occasions expressed his fascination with the scaly mammal species unique to Asia and Africa. He described pangolins as "living pinecones" and said that he has been mesmerized by their appearance since seeing pictures of them as a child.

Hrib said that he had requested Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) to gift Prague some pangolins during his visit to Taiwan last March. His wish was eventually granted after months of negotiation with the Taipei City government.

Located in the suburbs, the Prague Zoological Garden prides itself on having a wide range of rare and endangered species, including the Chinese giant salamander, the Komodo dragon, and the gharial crocodile. Jing Shih-chian (金仕謙), the curator of the Taipei Zoo, said that it was his first time visiting the Prague Zoo and he was blown away by its rich collection.

In exchange for the pangolins, the Prague government promised to help the Taipei Zoo foster endangered Przewalski's horses, commonly known as Mongolian wild horses. The Prague Zoological Garden will become the second European zoo to house them.

Taiwan pangolins to join Czech Republic zoo
Taipei and Prague sign sister city agreement Jan. 13. (CNA photo)