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Cosmo and Nanu


Schnbrunn panda couple to stay in Vienna

Vienna's Schnbrunn zoo has successful negotiated with China in a bid to keep the panda couple Yang Yang and Long Hui.

The panda pair who have been in Vienna since 2003 were due to be sent back to China in March next year when the ten year 'loan contract' expires.

The pandas who came from the Wolong breeding centre in China will now remain in Vienna after the zoo and the China Wildlife Conservation Association agreed on a new contract to keep the zoo favourites for a further ten years.

The panda couple gave birth to Fu Long in 2007 in Schnbrunn - making him the first naturally conceived panda to be born in Europe.

Fu Long returned to China after two years.

Three years later the pair had another cub Fu Hu, who returned to China earlier this year.

Zoo Director Dagmar Schratter said: "Being able to keep giant pandas at the zoo is a dream of many zoo's. There are only four zoos in Europe who have giant pandas. For us it is a great honour to be able to keep the pandas for another ten years. Visitors and workers at the zoo really love the animals and they really are very popular.

Giant pandas are a critically endangered species. There are only around 1,600 left in the wild in China.

Schnbrunn zoo not only helps finance the panda conservation project but also helps with their specialist knowledge, research and veterinary care. Schnbrunn has been involved in setting up nature reserves and has helped set up seminars for the reserves staff.

Schratter said: "The number of reserves has doubled in the last ten years. In addition isolated areas where pandas live in the wild have been set up with corridors linking them.

"Giant pandas in zoos help people fall in love with animals and promotes a desire to support them. This is extremely important," Schratter added.

Vienna Times

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