The performers, dressed in giant panda costumes, danced a specially choreographed Tai Chi-inspired routine to mark the first ever Panda Awareness Week.

Pandas, one of the world’s most endangered species with less than 1,600 left in the wild, are threatened largely by habitat loss.

Many efforts to increase their numbers are taking place at special breeding centres, such as Chengdu Panda Base in China.

The centre started out with only six pandas initially, but its numbers have grown considerably. There are now a total of 108 living in Chengdu base – the same number reflected in Wednesday’s performance.

“Pandas used to be really difficult to breed in captivity, but the Chengdu base and other zoos around the world have cracked the problem and now there’s around 400 in captivity. So they’re starting to be reintroduced back into the wild. So it’s a great conservation success story,” said conservationist and ambassador for the Chengdu Panda Base, Nigel Marven.

In an effort to create greater awareness of the bear, Mr Marven and the panda performers will be paying visits to schools and engaging with members of the public across the capital to educate people about pandas and the conservation efforts in place.

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