Flash mob pandamania – Bangkok, the animal kingdom

unspecified7Sunday was the last day of the cool Panda flash mob campaign in Bangkok.

After a little more than a month in Bangkok, the WWF awareness and conservation campaign came to an end. The idea of flash mobs of 1,600 papier mache pandas in different parts of the city was really astounding. Unfortunately the flash mob events were usually during the day on working days, so I didn’t get to see the pandas in action until the final destination at the Central Embassy in the business district.

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The campaign started in 2008 when there were a mere 1,600 pandas worldwide left with dwindling numbers. Since then the panda population has risen by 17%. The awareness campaign travelled all over the world to more than 100 locations including in the Netherlands, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia and South Korea. Some amazing pictures can be seen here.

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The 62-year old French artist Paulo Grangeon created the papier mache animals and produced about 10,000 of them in a Thai village with the help of local women over the last eight years. The pandas are made of 3 mm recycled paper that is glued together with cooked rice glue. Although they are not waterproof, they can withstand the humidity in Southeast Asia thanks to a latex-free varnish.

In Thailand, Central Embassy (shopping mall), design studio All Rights Reserved, the Tourism Authority of Thailand as well as Bangkok Metropolitan Administration made the flash mob exhibition “1600 Pandas+ World Tour in Thailand: For the World we Live in and the Ones we Love” in prominent places in the city possible.

From the photos and in my imagination the pandas were much bigger than in real life, but the number of bears exhibited was nevertheless impressive.

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The exhibition also coincided with the start of the sequel of Kung Fu Panda 3 with star casts like the Jolie family. After the invasion of the elephants during the elephant parade in December and January, we now got pandas all over the place. I wonder what the next animal exhibition will be.

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