December 14, 2008

San Diego Zoo reaches panda agreement

The San Diego Zoo will receive pandas from China during the next five years under a new loan agreement between the two sides, officials say.

Giant Panda Conservation Foundation President David Towne said the loan agreement during the ongoing economic crisis worldwide will allow the tourist site to continue to receive pandas from China, but at nearly half the cost, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported Saturday.

An official with the China Wildlife Conservation Association praised the deal for ensuring the safety of Chinese pandas by relocating them to U.S. zoos.

What the San Diego Zoo has done is create a friendship with conservationists in China, the zoological society's chief executive, Douglas Myers, told the Union-Tribune. Through this friendship, we have created a collaborative effort that will keep pandas in the hearts and minds of Americans so that we may save them in China.

The newspaper said the agreement would mean three other U.S. zoos would likely be able to afford the new discounted panda price, which dropped from $1 million per adult panda annually.