Letter: The other problem with pandas

IN HIS article about the Edinburgh Zoo pandas Tom Peterkin used an unattributed quote claiming the bears are a “gift from China”.

There has been confusion over this with various media outlets stating the bears are a gift while others suggest they will be leased from China at a cost of up to £1.4 million per year.

As well as moral and welfare concerns over bringing Tian Tian and Yang Guang halfway across the globe to be put on display for the public I am worried this project will cause long-term financial damage resulting in welfare problems for other creatures in the zoo. These bears could cost Edinburgh Zoo upwards of £2m a year in extra wages, provision of specialist food and veterinary care, enclosure maintenance and the Chinese leasing fees. The zoo had a £1.5m deficit last year and borrowed £2m from Lloyds Bank to help get things ready for the arrival of the bears. The zoo have also claimed that the project will help conserve the species and be a good educational tool. After many decades of this project, only one giant panda has been returned to the wild while much of the natural habitat of the animals has been lost to deforestation and human encroachment.

John F Robins, Animal Concern

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