Who owns the little panda at Beauval Zoo?

The saga of the giant panda pair continues. For several days, the zoo in Beauval (Loir-et-Cher) has been in turmoil and has been busy welcoming the first panda cub born in France. What has been done since last night.

The birth of a panda in Beauval: “a symbol” and “a huge responsibility”

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An event with international resonance, as the parents of the unborn baby are none other than celebrity couple pandas provided by France to China in 2012.

A house, a camera… Everything is ready in the zoo to meet and raise a new inhabitant. Only now: the little Chinese, unfortunately, will have to return to his country in three or four years.

Loan of two pandas from China to France, almost a state secret

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miraculous birth

Arrived in 2012 at the Zoo Beauval, Juan Juan and Yuan zee, the only giant pandas present in France failed to have a baby after many attempts. But on July 26, the zoo officially registered the pregnancy of the female panda. Employees and management were amazed:

“This is incredible, this will be our beloved baby, we exploded with joy before the ultrasound, because we have been waiting for this moment for a long time. It is also the hope of saving pandas, which are threatened with extinction in the wild.”

Pregnancy was all the more pleasurable as it is very rare in a female panda, who is only capable of childbearing once a year for just 48 hours. After several unsuccessful attempts at artificial insemination, Huang Huang’s five-week pregnancy finally succeeded.

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Of the fifteen zoological parks outside of China where pandas live, only three cubs were born last year in Europe. Thus, for the Beauval Zoo team, this birth wasreal challenge and great hope for endangered animals around the world.”

Departure to China

But the little miracle will not remain in France. After he is separated from his mother, he will have to prepare for his parents’ return journey. Rodolphe Delors, director of the institution, explains on TF1: “Pandas remain the property of the Chinese government, a baby that is born here, leaves again at the age of 3 or 4, will no doubt be released into the reserve. natural Chinese.” In l’Obs, Delphine Delors, director of the zoo, elaborated:

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“These animals are here as ambassadors, so they keep their original nationality. The same, of course, applies to the future newborn.”

Return to natural environment

Returning to China, a descendant of Huang Huang and Yuan Zee will be placed in a Chinese breeding base. Before it is likely to be released into the wild. Delphine Delor:

“Nothing is certain at the moment, but it is likely that the baby will return to its natural environment.”

However, when captive animals are released, they are fitted with GPS collars to “follow their tracks and make sure they are doing well.”

If the panda is no longer a “critically endangered” species as of 2016, thanks to the conservation program of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), it nevertheless remains listed as vulnerable and on the red list of those that are endangered. threatened.

Today, there are about 2,000 pandas left in the world. The ultimate goal of captive breeding programs remains the reintroduction of these pandas into their natural environment. An “uneasy” re-introduction that must be “prepared” upstream to avoid crashes, the site Panda.fr explains.

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What about his parents?

The baby panda’s parents are expected to stay in France for another four years. But the Beauval Zoo would like them to stay longer. For example, another ten years. But in order to get an extension of this “loan”, Emmanuel Macron will have to speak directly with the President of China. Long diplomatic negotiations will follow between the heads of the two states. The French President’s visit to China, announced on the end of the year or the beginning of 2018, will there be a reason to put the topic up for discussion?

A panda loan, in addition to being an environmental issue, is also a transaction that is as common as it is costly. In Chinese tradition, the animal is considered a treasure. “The panda is sacred there. She is not considered a simple animal, she is a real national symbol for the locals,” says Delfin Delord.

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Consequence: greeting this crunchy-faced animal for the price. A pair of Beauval pandas cost the zoo more than 800,000 euros a year, explains Rodolphe Delors. A decent amount that is paid to the Chinese conservation program. 19 currently have the privilege of receiving them. According to Panda.fr, there will be 59 captive pandas in the world outside their country of origin. We let you do the math.

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