Skip to comments.Foundation to meet in Memphis; panda payments in question
Posted on 04/22/2006 8:44:25 AM PDT by gg188
Foundation to meet in Memphis; panda payments in question
By Bartholomew Sullivan
April 22, 2006
WASHINGTON -- The Giant Panda Conservation Foundation, some of whose members left for China last week to discuss the possibility of lowering the $1 million lease payment Memphis and three other U.S. zoos with pandas pay each year, will meet in Memphis on May 9. Memphis Zoo director Chuck Brady says he has no confidence the group in China will reach a breakthrough on the lease issue.
Brady said the long-term future of pandas in North America will ultimately require a different fee structure, but he said he said he wanted to assure everyone that the zoo's financial plan for Ya Ya and Le Le is sound.
Giving them up "is not something we are contemplating," he said.
Memphis was the last of the four to get a pair of pandas, so its lease is the last to expire. San Diego is in year 10 of a 12-year lease and Atlanta is in year seven of 11. When their lease deadlines get closer, Brady predicted, "that's when the negotiations are going to be critical."
Chris Vehrs of the Maryland-based American Zoo and Aquarium Association said some foreign zoos are paying as little as $250,000 a year for their pandas.
Contact Washington correspondent Bartholomew Sullivan at (202) 408-2726
So... let's see if I've got this straight; the zoo offers to help China keep their Panda species alive by taking two of the critters, making space for them, feeding them, and footing all the bills for the vet and the caretakers, not to mention daytime security and the night watchman, and... the Chinese LEASE them the animals? And the zoo PAYS the CHINESE for that???
Someone's been taking Stupid Pills.
At $1 mil, I'd have to admit that if God had wanted pandas in North America, he'd have put them here. China needs them more than we do.
I'd agree with that statement, however, since there are so few pandas in america, and in theworld, a zoo that has pandas can get a huge upswing in attendance. I live 20 miles south of the Iowa border in Missouri, and my son loves animals, especially pandas.
So I drove him to see the pandas about 2 years ago. He still talks about it, and on normal circumstances, I wouldn't goto the Memphis zoo, since we have an excellent zoo in STL, except for the pandas.
They're gonna need more than a huge upswing in ticket sales to recoup that sort of payment - unless they're charging a hundred bucks or so for admission!