More Chinese pandas are returning to the country from their stay at the Washington Zoo. The decision could have been made at the political level, because the pandas became living proof that cooperation was working well. All of them in the world have Chinese passports and none of them are for sale or exchange.
Three giant pandas, which called the Washington Zoo home for years, are leaving for China. Animal lovers, and there were crowds of them, came to say goodbye to them.
– I was here when I was a child, and later I came many times to see them. I’m sorry they’re leaving, says one of the women. – We had to see them, it’s the third time this month. We enjoy every minute with them – adds another tourist.
Pandas are not only the joy and background of their fans’ photos, but also the background of China’s global politics. As the world changes, so does China’s panda policy. Two pandas came to the United States during the Nixon presidency, when relations between the superpowers warmed. – Thank you for a gift that all children, regardless of age, will enjoy. I am one of them, too, said Pat Nixon, the first lady of the United States.
A symbol of good relations
Initially, pandas were gifts, but in the 1980s, China started lending them to other countries for a period specified in the contract – for a fee: for a pair of pandas, they received from 250,000 to a million dollars.
However, which country could borrow the panda depended on its current relationship with China. If someone had a good trade deal, he got it, if he sold uranium to China, he got it. When it was necessary to show that the leaders liked each other and wanted to cooperate, Chinese pandas were sent to the zoo in the country of the liked cooperator. Pandas have become living proof that cooperation works.
There are only four pandas left in the United States – at the Atlanta Zoo. The rest left because the contract ended and was not extended. Probably also because there are a lot of conflicts between China and America. Washington Zoo director Dr. Brandie Smith hopes that pandas will soon return to her zoo. “I can’t wait to celebrate the return of pandas to Washington with all of you,” he said.
Main photo source: Reuters