In the 1980s, the population of pandas in the wild has fallen to just over a thousand. While extinction loomed over these extremely adorable creatures, officials made it a point to save the species from completely disappearing by creating conservations for them. After 30 years of effort, pandas are no longer endangered. But did you know how China utilizes pandas for business?
China essentially retains ownership of all pandas in the world. The zoos around the globe would rent them from China. They pay the fee of $1 million per year for a pair of pandas for a minimum of ten years.
The Panda Business: How Does China Make It Work?
According to the World Wildlife Fund, there were about 1,600 pandas alive in the wild, based on the last count in 2004. At the same time, there were approximately 350 pandas living under human care at zoos or breeding centers worldwide, with roughly 50 of those bears outside China.
China officially owns the giant pandas around. They are then selectively leased to other countries for a fee. Usually, a pair would cost $1 million for a year, with funds going toward conservation efforts in China. Rentals commonly last for ten years, with an option of renewal. (Source: CNN)
How Much Does it Cost to Raise a Panda?
In one year, the estimated cost of caring for a panda can go over $1 million. This is according to David Towne, the president of the Giant Panda Conservation Foundation for North America. He said they are expected to be like a fussy customer because they eat a lot. In addition to this, you would need to spend on medical care, handlers, and trainers.
Two pandas munch on nearly 40,000 pounds of food. This is more than $100,000, including imported and organic bamboo a year. Hongkong pandas are locavores that eat five different species of bamboo grown in Southern China. Thus bamboo shortages may also be a risk.
According to Suzanne Gendron, director of the Ocean Park Conservation Foundation in Hongkong, pandas are pretty heavy and weigh about 300 pounds. They tend to sleep for 12 hours a day to conserve energy because they can only absorb 17% of their nutrients.
Every effort is expected from the zoos to breed the pandas in order to keep their population up. Towne said that centers are typically required to pay a $200,000 fee to China if newborn cubs live for about six months. By the time the cubs turn four, they need to be returned to China. But if any of the cubs die on your watch because of human error, a fine of $500,000 will be charged to the facility handling the cubs. (Source: CNN)
How Does a Zoo Get Selected to Acquire a Panda from China?
China can’t just start giving pandas out to everyone. Before they can be considered, a particular country must have something to offer, whether it is advanced technology, a great facility, or even ample natural resources.
Countries must prove that they have the technical capacity to house and breed pandas and are committed to conservation, aside from strategic and economic interests. The U.S. has been cautious that they also require approval from the Fish and Wildlife Service to import pandas by demonstrating that public display won’t constrain scientific research.
Habitat restoration and the study of breeding techniques are included in conservation projects partnering with China. Research collaborations are also looking at how to reintroduce pandas into the wild. (Source: CNN)