by REERA YOO | @reeraboo
Thousands of adorable papier-mâché pandas are invading South Korea, but the reason behind their visit is a bit heartbreaking.
French sculptor Paulo Grangeon first began the panda project back in 2008. The World Wildlife Fund had invited the artist to handcraft 1,600 papier-mâché panda bears to represent the 1,600 real pandas left in the world, hoping to raise public awareness of the wildlife conservation.
Since then, the 1,600 Pandas+ project has toured around the globe, with over a thousand miniature pandas displayed in open public spaces in Italy, Switzerland, France, Hong Kong and more.
This year, Lotte Department Store and Lotte World Mall partnered with Grangeon to create a new tour called “1,800 Pandas+,” which will serve as a symbolic reminder on the importance of protecting endangered wild species. The new tour is essentially a continuation of 1,600 Pandas+ and represents the 200 increase in the population of wild giant pandas since 2008.
The main exhibition of 1,800 paper pandas is scheduled to be displayed in the garden area near Seokchon Lake in Seoul from July 4 through July 30.
If you can’t wait that long for pandas, then don’t worry. Much like a flashmob, a traveling pack of paper pandas are set to pop up in various cities and national landmarks across South Korea. They’ve already made appearances at Jeju Island, Seoul Plaza, Gangnam Station and Dongdaemun Plaza.
Check out the photos below:
The next panda flash mob is scheduled to appear at Cheogna Lake Park, according to South Korea’s official 1,600 Pandas+ Instagram.
You can view the current panda tour schedule below:
<1600 Pandas+ KR 플래시몹 루트맵 > 서울을 시작으로 전국 방방곡곡을 누비게 될 판다들! 판다들이 어디를 방문할지 많이 궁금하셨죠? 앞으로의 일정을 공개합니다! 판다들을 직접 만날 수 있는 플래시몹 장소들에 대한 정보와 아직 베일에 싸여있는 다른 지역들까지, 루트맵을 통해 확인해보세요. 홈페이지: www.1600pandas.kr 트위터: @1600pandaskr #1600PandasPlusKR #1600PandasKR #1600Pandas #1600판다플러스 #1600판다코리아 #1600PandasFlashMob #1600판다플래시몹
To learn more about the 1,800 Pandas+ in South Korea, visit the official tour site.
Photos via Visit Korea