Actress Song Hye Kyo became Asia’s first-ever panda ambassador.
On June 4, Song was appointed the position and visited a panda reserve in Chengdu Sichuan. There, she spent time outdoors with the great panda and gained knowledge on the animal. Two days later in Beijing, she received a qualification certificate and plaque.
Of her experience she said, “I’ve only seen pandas through photos or documentaries up to this point so it seems like a dream to see them directly like this. I’m feeling about having this good opportunity and being able to help at least a little. There are also many animals within Korea that need protection and I particularly have a lot of interest in the [Eurasian river] otter, a Korean natural treasure (endangered subspecies).”
Song Hye Kyo will lead efforts to raise funds for the recovery of panda habitats that were destroyed by last year’s earthquake.
The giant panda is one of the world’s most endangered species with less than 2500 in number.