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Zoos That Should Have Giant Pandas

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by ChunkyMunky pengopus, 28 Apr 2021.

  1. ChunkyMunky pengopus

    ChunkyMunky pengopus Well-Known Member

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    It is common on zoochat to dislike pandas, or think they are overrated, and admittedly not without reason, mainly because of panda diplomacy and huge costs, and that they are just big balls of black and white that sleep. I enjoyed seeing pandas for the first time, but it was just that, seeing them just sitting in a hammock.

    However, especially among the general public, Giant Pandas are a major draw. In my mind, Giant Pandas have much the same role as least concern ABC animals- they bring in the crowds despite the funds being more important elsewhere, but their reason for being there is that they bring in funds.

    I don't think that pandas should be completely absent from North American/ European collections, and I belive some zoos can greatly gain from the attendance and awareness boosts the bears give them. So what zoos could benefit from having Giant Pandas? Or do you think none of them should?
     
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  2. Azamat Shackleford

    Azamat Shackleford Well-Known Member

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    The biggest benefit is that giant pandas draw lots of crowds in. Lots of common folks are infatuated by pandas mainly because they're adorable, and in turn, this can boost merchandise sales and whatnot.

    However, at this current state, in my honest opinion I do not believe that North American/European zoos should have giant pandas even with the influx of charisma that draws more people in; they're financial sinkholes, and plus, there's so much other "cute" or charismatic animals that will draw crowds in anyway. I honestly feel there's more negatives to keeping them than positives, and all those millions of dollars could be spent with so much more species that actually need saving. I can only think of a few successful breeding attempts that have occurred just in the U.S. (and if a cub's born, that means an extra whopping $400k fee to pay), which honestly I don't feel is enough to spend millions of dollars for just for their upkeep as well (along with the dreaded yearly million dollar loan fee). I get different answers online of how much upkeep it is to care for a panda, but all the answers I got were pretty expensive, even more than the upkeep of elephants. There's a plethora of species out there that have a huge lack of conservation attention, and the money that could be spent raising awareness and jumpstarting projects to save them from extinction, but instead around half of those loan fees going to China aren't even going towards conservation but to unknown motives (and who knows what those motives could even be).

    I don't dislike giant pandas, they're cool creatures on their own, but it's just not worth the hassle when those millions of dollars could go towards something actually useful since conservation funding in general's already pretty tight and scarce (don't forget the added financial stresses also affecting facilities right now thanks to the COVID pandemic). That's just my ten cents though
     
    Last edited: 28 Apr 2021
  3. TinoPup

    TinoPup Well-Known Member

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    None right now, given the extreme cost of setting up for, and paying for, them.
     
  4. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    Basically zoos in mainland China and in Hong Kong and Taiwan and thats about it IMO.
     
  5. Julio C Castro

    Julio C Castro Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    You pretty much said everything and more than I would’ve said, well put indeed! It’s very diplomatic and costly to display pandas, costing millions of dollars for a loan for a specie that isn’t anywhere near the most endangered. They’re very adorable and likable animals, it’s hard to not love them from the general public point of view. As for who should display besides mainland China, I think the National Zoo has perhaps one of the most well made exhibits for pandas from what I’ve seen on Zoochat in the US so maybe at least there. But at the end I don’t agree with the bargain chip/cost of pandas between countries, could be a different situation if they were given/loaned without a steep “rent” price.
     
  6. Haliaeetus

    Haliaeetus Well-Known Member

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    For me, Pandas have sense in a real Chinese zone, as they are very emblematic animals.
    A pair of Giant Panda will be more attractive than Chinese Salamanders, Snow Leopards and even Snub-nosed Monkeys.
    It's like the Koala for Australian fauna, that are even more inactive and expensive than Giant Pandas.
    I purposely don't talk about political and diplomatic issues.
     
  7. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    I think that it is very hard to separate panda diplomacy, "pandanomics" and geopolitics from giant pandas in zoos outside China.

    Actually perhaps it is impossible to view the issue of pandas in zoos outside of China without considering the contextual backdrop of politics as it is likely one of the most politicized animals within human culture that there has ever been (through no fault of its own though).

    The giant panda originally became more common in zoos outside of its native country because of the historic thaw in the coldwar between the US and China because of the Sino-Soviet split and the strengthening of diplomatic, economic and strategic relations between the two countries.

    If we look at current events with the ongoing rising tensions between China and the USA / Europe / India / Australia, the threat of war breaking out in the South-China Seas and the rising geopolitical influence of China on a global level it would appear that something of a new coldwar has once again materialized.

    Considering this coldwar 2.0 that has commenced I think that it will be very interesting to see what happens in terms of the possibility of pandas reaching zoos outside of the country in the future.
     
    Last edited: 28 Apr 2021
  8. Haliaeetus

    Haliaeetus Well-Known Member

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    I mention there are Pandas in Japan, Taiwan and perhaps other East Asian nations that are rivals of People's Republic of China, so the political and economical rivalty isn't an absolute barrier.
    I cannot predict the evolution of political and economical relationship between PRC and other nations, but it's possible that few countries will cut all their links with China. Among the other countries, there probably will be a gamme of various situations between "friendship" and "hostility". And obviously China couldn't end its relationships with other nations if it wants to keep its leadership (and as China doesn't search autarky as it was the case in 1930's USSR, and more recently Albania and North Korea).

    Even during the USA/USSR Cold War, few countries ceased all their diplomatic (but also cultural, sportive...) links with the opposite camp during all the period.
    It's interesting to see that even in these times there was cooperation between Western and Eastern Zoos. I think about the import of Russian fauna (Snow Leopards, Kulans...) by the San Diego zoo, and between the 2 Berlin Zoos.
     
  9. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    True but these pandas have been gifted as gestures of "good will" as kind of ursid olive branches by China to Taiwan or Hong kong or Japan specifically at moments where tensions have periodically dropped and where diplomatic channels have managed to be reopened whereas right now it is the opposite with tensions at breaking point.

    I don't think many countries if any will break their links or communications with China completely and this wouldn't be desireable anyway as there needs to be dialogue and diplomacy to avoid the outbreak of war.
     
    Last edited: 28 Apr 2021
  10. Dassie rat

    Dassie rat Well-Known Member

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    I don't believe that any zoos should keep giant pandas unless they can afford the cost and the financial risk that the 'extra' money from attendance may be lower than the cost of keeping pandas. Also, it seems that there should be some form of male competition to encourage females to mate; unless the zoo can use artificial insemination successfully, the chances of successful breeding with a pair of pandas tends to be low.
     
  11. StellarChaser

    StellarChaser Well-Known Member

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    I don't think there are species that have the same level of charisma as Giant Panda in common visitors' perspective, perhaps Koala? I know many Zoochatters don't like Giant Panda, but we Zoochatters are just a hundred people, while the Zoos need millions of visitors per year. If there is a perfect substitution of Giant Panda to attract crowds of visitors, then no western zoo would like to pay such a big amount to China. I recommend that several zoos within one country or from several countries can work together to share the rent, and exhibit the Panda in about one year's turn.
    Additionally, the Shoebills become increasingly popular in East Asian social media (include China, even though there is no Shoebill in China), they may act as substitute of Panda to attract visitors, but breeding Shoebill is much much harder than breeding Panda!