The Embassy of China in Finland has begun to accept donations for the two giant Chinese Pandas living in the Finnish zoo Ähtäri zoo, an embassy’s spokesman recently stated citing Chinese Ambassador Chen Li.
During Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Finland in 2017, he gifted the Nordic country two Giant Chinese pandas named Lumi and Pyry who arrived the following year on a 15-year loan.
Pandemic-related restrictions saw a drop in visitors last year however which has the 60-hectare city-owned zoo facing financial troubles and earlier this month Ähtäri mayor said that the pandas’ upkeep costs the city around 1 million euros a year and the bears will have to be returned to China if the funding cannot be secured.
Sputnik writes that the embassy spokesman told the media that they have been briefed on the situation and immediately asked for help from Chinese companies and organizations operating in Finland on possible donations. “Finland received the pandas from China as a valuable gift in honor of the 100th anniversary of independence. It would be very sad if the pandas were sent back after just four years. In fact, this has never happened before, and I do not want this to happen in Finland,” the spokesman said.
The Embassy of China in Finland expects that the funding for the pandas will be collected by 25 December while also noting that it is hard to assess the possible damage to bilateral relations if the animals are returned, especially given the fact that the mascot of the upcoming Beijing Olympics is a snow-covered panda.