China will send no more pandas to foreign countries as gifts, a
state forestry spokesman announced at a press conference
Cao Qingyao, spokesman and director of Information Office of the
State Forestry Administration said that the Chinese government has
stopped the program of giving pandas to foreign countries as gifts,
but joint research programs on pandas will continue.
China has carried out joint research programs with nine zoos
from five countries, and 30 pandas were sent to these zoos.
In the latest move, Cao said that the China Wildlife
Conservation Association, on behalf of the ministry, signed a
ten-year agreement with Australia's Adelaide Zoo outlining
protection and joint research of the giant pandas. A pair of
pandas, Wangwang and Funi, has been selected to live there.
Another pair of giant pandas, Bing Xing and Hua Zui Ba, arrived
in Madrid on September 8. They will reside in Spain for ten years
as a goodwill gesture from Beijing.
The giant panda is one of the world's rarest animals, with about
1,590 currently living in the wild in China, mostly in the
southwest parts of the country. Another 210 have been bred in
China has been raising pandas using artificial insemination and
breeding techniques for nearly 50 years. Last year the number of
newborns rose to 34 with 30 surviving. Both were record
(China.org.cn by Zhang Yunxing, September 13, 2007)