Thursday 9 December 2010

Britten Sinfonia Chairman Becomes Proud Panda Dad

Britten Sinfonia Chairman Stephen Bourne has been causing a minor sensation: he’s adopted a Giant Panda! Actually, he’s adopted it on behalf of Cambridge University Press, of which he is CEO.

The Press adopted Jian Qiao (loosely translated as ‘Cambridge’ and equally loosely pronounced ‘Jen Chow’) who was born in China’s Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Research Foundation in August this year. The baby female panda will play a crucial role in building closer working links between Cambridge and China and in raising awareness of this endangered species.

The adoption makes Cambridge the first publisher to be granted access to a giant panda in this way. Stephen Bourne made the trip to the Chengdu Panda Research Centre in Sichuan Province (recently featured in a BBC 2 programme) for the adoption ceremony.

Madame Wu Wei, Deputy Director in the State Council Information Office of China, was a distinguished guest and played a key part in arranging this adoption. In her address, she said: “2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity. This adoption by Cambridge University Press not only shows their love for the giant panda, but also their care for nature. They set a good example to people for environmental protection”.

Jian Qiao will also help to raise the profile of the Cambridge Young Learners’ course books published for Chinese school children. Plans are being put in place to build a new website, so children around the world will be able to follow her progress as she grows up.

The adoption highlights CUP’s wider conservation, community and climate change concerns. As Stephen said: “I believe our adoption of Jian Qiao speaks volumes about the kind of organisation that Cambridge University Press is, and the importance that we place on being a responsible member of the communities in which we operate.

For Jian Qiao, it means she can look forward to receiving the best start in life and, as befits a Cambridge panda, a very bright future!”

Giant pandas are native to China and are among the world’s most endangered species. A 2007 report by the Chinese State Forestry Commission found that there were fewer than 2,000 giant pandas living in the wild today, and 239 living in captivity in China.

Jian Qiao was born weighing just 153 grams. She has a twin brother and both were born to mother Qi Zhen. Weighing roughly four kilograms after 3 months, she is doing well and has a healthy appetite. She can expect to grow to around 220 pounds, five feet long and around two feet six inches at the shoulder. She should reach maturity at the age of five, at which point it is hoped that she will breed. Will Stephen then become a panda grandpa?!