Discussion in 'United States' started by NVP, 25 Mar 2019.
The pandas are leaving the zoo.
Last pandas at San Diego Zoo are leaving
Oh no! Are they going to be replaced or not?
Wow, I did not see that coming. The pandas have been the zoos main attraction and biggest commercial influence for the past decades. I imagine that they have a decent chance of returning in the near future, considering the strong public disappointment that will come from this news.
Sadly, I think this might be the end of the zoo's panda era. If it is, then I hope their attendance doesn't tank.
Any word on what's replacing them?
Yep, I just got an email.
As part of the San Diego Zoo Global Family, I want you to be one of the first to know that we are preparing to bid farewell to Bai Yun and Xiao Liwu, our giant pandas at the San Diego Zoo.
Our long-term panda loan has come to an end, and as part of the agreement, it is time for them to return home to China. These pandas, although beloved by San Diegans, are native to China where they are considered a national treasure.
San Diego Zoo's giant panda program began in 1996 and has made significant contributions to the conservation of this iconic species. We are very proud of our past success, and we also recognize it is time to move forward as we repatriate these pandas to their homeland and address new conservation challenges for their species and others.
We are grateful for the six cubs born in our care and for the time we had to share these amazing animals with our guests. Together, we made a difference. We look forward to hosting pandas here again in the future and are currently in conversations with our colleagues in China to determine how our panda program will proceed over the next 25 years.
The giant panda habitat at the Zoo will be open for guest visits through April 27, 2019. Please celebrate the success of the panda program by sharing your favorite memories and best wishes for the future of the program on your favorite social media channels using #Panda4Ever.
Thank you for supporting San Diego Zoo Global and for being a special friend to wildlife around the world.
Douglas G. Myers
San Diego Zoo Global
Don't think they've figured that out yet.
Okay, it probably won't tank, but I hope it'll still retain its popularity even without the pandas.
The pandas have been at the zoo for 23 years and several other zoos in North America have pandas now. While they are still immensely popular, I'm guessing most people don't go to the zoo primarily to see the pandas as they may have a decade or more ago.
The announcement email from the zoo specifically says that they anticipate exhibiting pandas in the future, and are in discussions with China about another long-term relationship.
I'd be glad to provide what I've read to support this, but to summarize: giant pandas do not have a significant impact on admissions, popularity, or ticket revenues once the first few years after their arrival have passed. There is a persistent rhetoric that pandas = more visitors, a rhetoric for which there is not much evidence. The same rhetoric exists for other species as well: a lot of people were concerned that major zoos who phased out elephants would see their attendance and ticket revenues drop significantly, something that did not happen.
After the pandas leave, on busy days we will have clear access to the red pandas, takins, and vipers since there won't be a long queue mucking things up!
I have my doubts about this, Coelacanth18. First, as far as I know (but correct me if I'm wrong): There are no surveys/studies if phasing out elephants/giant pandas have a significant impact of the attendance of zoos in general. The reason, why a zoo could keep its visitor numbers after the elephants have left could also be a equivalent replacement. So it is a may be/may be not thing.
Second: For quite a long time, San Diego Zoo was the only zoo in Western US (and the only one besides National Zoo and Mexico-City in North and South America) exhibiting giant pandas. So SDZ was identified with this species and people visiting SDZ are EXPECTING to see giant pandas now. Even years after SDZ has started its giant panda conservation "program", there are still long lines at the exhibit....
Third: When you compare the appeal of giant pandas with elephants, I have to agree, although in a different meaning. Like giant pandas, elephants attract crowds and are deeply mised by tourists and locals, when a zoo has phased them out. I have heard visitors at Frankfurt Zoo, Germany, many times in the past two decades talking about the "good old days" as there were this giants exhibited. And a keeper at Brookfield Zoo Chicago told me 2, 3 years ago, that there "is not a single day, people do not ask for (the return of) elephants". And I'm sure that there are people in Toronto and Seattle think and feel the same. Further, here in Switzerland, it is an open secret that Circus Knie, after it has stopped to travel and performing with elephants, has to struggle to keep their visitor numbers (specially in small towns).
Perhaps not, but what we do have are attendance numbers for zoos before and after phasing out major species. There may be no statistical analysis, but just the raw numbers probably suffice.
I agree that this could have been a major contributor, since new things result in attendance increases and zoos that stagnate in construction can also stagnate in attendance. However, I think this actually strengthens what I said rather than undermining it. If some new exhibit can be considered an "equivalent replacement", it implies that giant pandas are ultimately not integral to San Diego's reputation or attendance numbers; same goes for elephants or any other species.
Very few people go to San Diego Zoo specifically because it has giant pandas. Most people visit zoos for the zoo; the majority of visitors are middle-class families who will visit their local zoo regardless of what animals it has. In San Diego's case, the zoo is also one of the most famous landmarks in the city and tourists will continue to go in droves regardless of what rare or charismatic animal disappears. The people who crowd around the panda exhibit wouldn't not come to the zoo otherwise; they'd just be dispersed around the rest of the zoo instead of crowding around a main attraction.
I'm sure a lot of people miss elephants being at their home zoo and wish they would come back; that doesn't mean fewer people continue visiting the zoo. I may not like it when a restaurant I frequent drops an item from their menu, but that doesn't mean I stop eating there.
Let me preface by saying that I don't know much about circuses, and what I do know is primarily about circuses in North America. Over here, circus attendance has been declining for decades; I don't know if phasing out elephants has had any impact one way or the other. If anything, I think circuses keeping elephants in the US would have a negative impact in the current sociopolitical environment due to animal welfare concerns (that can affect the aesthetic of zoos keeping them too, but the effects are harsher for circuses).
Circuses are a bit of a dying form of entertainment most likely because of how vast the entertainment landscape is now. Over a century ago, circuses were pretty much the biggest source of entertainment, but these days, with movies, TV, video games, and YouTube videos, circuses aren't quite the novelty they used to be.
They also have the animal abuse stigma attached to them so that certainly won't help matters.
Even considering circuses that don't use animals at all, I don't think most families with kids would be rushing to see them like they would to see the latest movies.
Good riddance. Stupid Pandas. Hopefully they put something that actually makes for a good display in their exhibits now. Perhaps a Manchurian Crane, Red Panda, Japanese Serow exhibit in one, and Dholes in the other. That would be nice...
Short reply: That's some ********.
Can we bulldoze Africa Rocks now and put up a dedicated Asia section?
I was there in the mid-eighties (?) when San Diego had that brief panda road show and we waited in line for what seemed like hours to see them. I think they were housed right around where the penguin exhibit is now in one of those glassed in cat exhibits. Y'know, back when that giant sea lion pool was there.
So now the entire West Coast has zero panda representation. We have to fly to... Memphis. Well, at least until 2023. Now the South has an over representation!
I doubt the pack (or is it two packs now?) are leaving the Wild Animal Park. They have nice digs in the old lion exhibit.
Dholes would actually be a good choice, especially since they already have them (off exhibit, I think?) at the Safari Park.
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