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FLORA AND FAUNA
Taiwan gives China rare deer and goats

File image: Formosan serow.
by Staff Writers
Taipei (AFP) April 17, 2011
Taiwan has given China a pair of endangered deer and one of indigenous goats, zoo officials said Sunday, in the latest piece of animal diplomacy after China gave its former arch-enemy two pandas.

The two sika deer and two Formosan serows -- both seldom seen in the wild -- were transported Saturday to Liugong Island off China's Shandong province and were welcomed by over 500 people, the Taipei City Zoo said in a statement.

The animals will be quarantined for a month before they are allowed to meet zoo visitors. They were donated as a gesture of thanks for two Chinese pandas who arrived in Taiwan in 2008 free of the usual large rental fees.

The animal exchanges are among the signs of warming ties between the island and mainland since Ma Ying-jeou of the China-friendly Kuomintang party came to power in 2008. His predecessor had banned the import of Chinese pandas.

Taiwan and China split in 1949 at the end of a civil war, but Beijing considers the self-ruled island to be part of its territory awaiting reunification, by force if necessary.



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