Prague, Nov 26 (CTK) – The Prague zoo would like to loan giant pandas as a popular symbol of nature protection and a rare attraction for visitors, and the Czech Republic has already launched the relevant sensitive diplomatic negotiations with China, the zoo´s director Miroslav Bobek has told CTK.
China loans giant pandas abroad as a gesture of accommodation.
Apart from the Prague-Beijing negotiations, a new pavilion for the pandas needs to be built in the Prague zoo. This investment worth many millions of crowns needs to be approved by the Prague City Assembly, Bobek said.
If the plan came true, Prague would be one of the few world cities to have its giant pandas.
Bobek would not give details on the Czech-Chinese negotiations, a part of which he personally attended.
He said he could not estimate when the project may materialise. He said five years seem a realistic deadline to him, but it may happen even sooner.
China´s loaning of pandas to Prague may be supported by the fact that Czech-Chinese relations have been improving now, and also the Panda and Mole cartoon film series that Czech artists are producing for the Chinese state television CCTV and that is to be completed and start being broadcast early next year.
The Czech acquisition of pandas would be a closely watched event, judging by similar occasions abroad.
For example, when a pair od pandas arrived in Brussels on a specially decorated aircraft in February 2014, loaned by China for 15 years, they were welcomed at the airport by Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo, a deputy prime minister, the defence minister and the Chinese ambassador. Their transfer to the zoological garden was protected by the police. In the zoo, some 50 km far from Brussels, the pandas were awaited by thousands of cheering fans.
The latest “census” showed that over 1,800 giant pandas live in the wild and another 300 in captivity, mainly in China.
According to the Reuters agency, the pair arriving in Brussels in February 2014 raised the number of giant pandas outside China to 47.