Edinburgh Zoo's giant pandas could be returned to China next year as attraction suffers funding crisis amid pandemic
Edinburgh Zoo's giant pandas may have to return to China next year at the end of their 10-year contract with the Chinese go nment due to financial pressures amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, which runs both Edinburgh Zoo and the Highland Wildlife Park, faced enormous financial pressure when it was forced to close for three months during the summer.
Costing about £1 million a year to lease the mating pair - female Tian Tian and male Yang Guang - chief executive of the Society David Field says the charity will have to 'seriously consider every potential saving' including their giant panda contract.
Mr Field said: 'The closure of Edinburgh Zoo and Highland Wildlife Park for three months due to Covid-19 has had a huge financial impact on our charity because most of our income comes from our visitors.
'Although our parks are open again, we lost around £2 million last year and it seems certain that restrictions, social distancing and limits on our visitor numbers will continue for some time, which will also reduce our income.
Mr Field added: 'We have to seriously consider every potential saving and this includes assessing our giant panda contract and the cost of their daily care.
'At this stage, it is too soon to say what the outcome will be. We will be discussing next steps with our colleagues in China over the coming months.'
Glass, West Midlands, United Kingdom
Lease your Panda at 500,000 per year.
SandyBrown1, London, United Kingdom
I love those Pandas. I just hope they will be treated well if they go back to China.
stopeatinganimals, CORBY, United Kingdom
Pandas should be out in the wild without human interference.
SW66Bristol, Bristol, United Kingdom
Hope it works out well for the future of pandas whatever happens!
millendano, UK, United Kingdom
They shouldn't be here. Return them to China. Chinese have done amazing things to preserve pandas, not just lock them up in cages
Dr Sharon Delaney, sheffield, United Kingdom
all the billionaires and multi million footballers should be funding zoos and other wildlife charities
mummy quatro, Southampton, United Kingdom
I don't see a problem with outdoor attractions such as zoo's, country parks and gardens being open. We have to support what we can!
Ottaviani, Verona, Italy
A million for a Panda and Scots cant even contact a Doctor when they need one
its cold up here, Up North, United Kingdom
1 million pounds a year - another SNP initiative that puts pet projects before health and education.
NM2, notts, United Kingdom
Send them back now before you run out of money, and everyone should stop buying Chinese stuff to send a message.
Steve C, Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
Leased? What happened to good will?
Good back where they belong
Jenna, Private, United Kingdom
The Chinese take care and treat the pandas very well - it is one of their national pride.
Johngers888, Glasgow, United Kingdom
We rent a couple of a Pandas at a million a year while children go hungry. Zoos should be banned.
HALCYON DAZE, FOD, United Kingdom
Agree. It's time these delightful animals were returned
No More Fake News, A thousand dissatisfied women, United Kingdom
If the Pandas are returning home, the Zoo will lose another major stream of income, that is generated by the Pandas being there. It is a double edged sword!
black5f, Ferroequinologist, United Kingdom
Leased ... a million a year? What about kingfishers red squirrels and water voles?
Mark Francois, Conscience, United Kingdom
Just replace them with good old British badgers. No one will know and far more patriotic.
Victoria, Nottingham, United Kingdom
Dont send them back