Taiwan pandamania claims zoo website as victim

Fri Dec 26, 2008 4:50am EST
 
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TAIPEI (Reuters Life!) - A wave of pandamania sweeping Taiwan has claimed its first victim: the website of the Taipei Zoo, home to two giant pandas that arrived there this week as a gift from China.

The zoo's site crashed the day after the pandas arrived on Tuesday, as tens of thousands of adoring fans went online for the latest news, the English-language Taipei Times reported.

"On Wednesday, the number of clicks on the panda website surged from 17,000 on Tuesday to 37,000, causing the website to crash," a zoo spokesman told the Times.

"We have asked the Taipei city government to repair it and to enlarge the servers' capability."

The site was back up and running by Friday, complete with pictures and the latest updates on the zoo's newest stars, Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan, poking around their new customized environs.

The pair have become instant celebrities since their arrival in Taiwan from China, symbolizing improving relations between the former pair of political rivals under a new China-friendly administration.

The pair have taken up residence in a new T$300 million ($9.08 million) custom-made quarters where they are expected to attract large crowds when they officially go on display around the lunar new year at the end of January.

(Reporting by Doug Young; Editing by Sugita Katyal)

 
<p>Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan, the two giant pandas from China, are seen in the quarantine area in Taipei zoo in Muzha December 23, 2008. REUTERS/Taipei City Government/Handout</p>