Edinburgh Zoo could lose its giant pandas next year due to financial impact of coronavirus

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#Edinburgh #Zoo may be set to return its famous giant pandas to #China next year.
The #Royal #Zoological #Society of #Scotland, which runs the zoo alongside the #Highland #Wildlife #Park, said it lost around £ 2million last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

#Both attractions were forced to close for three months due to restrictions in place.

#Now the organization is looking for ways to balance the books – and pandas could be high on the to-do list.



#Pandas are a popular attraction at #Edinburgh #Zoo

A 10-year contact with the #Chinese government to hire the mating pair for around £ 1million a year is expected to end next year.

#David #Field, chief executive of the company, said: “The closure of #Edinburgh #Zoo and #Highland #Wildlife #Park for three months due to #Covid-19 has had a huge financial impact on our association as most of our income come from our visitors.

“#Although our parks are open again we lost around £ 2million last year and it looks certain that restrictions, social distancing and limits on our visitor numbers will continue for some time, this which will also reduce our income.

“#We have done everything we can to protect our charity by taking out a government loan, firing staff when possible, making layoffs when necessary and launching a fundraising appeal.

“The support we have received from our members and animal lovers has helped us to keep our doors open and we are extremely grateful.

The zoo was not eligible for the government zoo fund, which was intended for small zoos.



The organization that runs the zoo said it lost around £ 2million last year due to the pandemic

#Mr #Field added, “#We need to seriously consider any potential savings and that includes valuing our giant panda contract and the cost of their daily care.

“At this point it’s too early to say what the outcome will be. #We will discuss the next steps with our #Chinese colleagues over the coming months. ”

The zoo is one of a number of conservation projects, including one to reintroduce #Scottish wild cats.

#However, #Mr #Field said projects like this may also have to be scrapped due to #Brexit and not be able to apply for #European #Union grants.



10-year contract to lease pandas to #Chinese government ends next year

#Mr #Field said: ‘##We have received a £ 3.2million grant from the EU LIFE program to support our #Saving #Wildcats partnership project, which aims to restore feral cats in #Scotland by breeding and releasing them in nature.

“#Feral cats are on the verge of extinction in #Britain and this is the last hope for the survival of the species.

“As we are no longer part of the #European #Union, our charity is no longer eligible to apply for funding from programs like EU LIFE, which have proven to be essential for our wildlife conservation work and broader efforts. to protect animals from extinction.

“##We have a leading conservation genetics lab at #Edinburgh #Zoo that supports conservation projects around the world, and suddenly access to funding and other researchers for this cutting edge science is gone. .

“While the full impact remains to be seen, we also face increasing challenges regarding the movement of animals between zoos, many of which are part of major #European endangered species breeding programs. ”

The program is currently short by around £ 900,000, which means it may need to be canceled.

#Mr. #Field said: “We still need to cut costs to secure our future. There may be some of our incredibly important conservation projects, including #Scotland’s vital lifeline for feral cats, that need to be postponed, postponed or even stopped.

“Yang #Guang and #Tian #Tian have made a huge impression on our visitors over the past nine years, helping millions of people connect with nature and inspiring them to take an interest in wildlife conservation.

“I would love if they could stay with us for a few more years and that is definitely my current goal. ”

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