Prague Zoo, frequently ranked among the best zoos in the world, announced two years ago extensive plans to build a new panda pavilion in the hopes of eventually receiving the exotic animals from China.
The news came on the heels of increased business relationships between the Czech Republic and China, and Chinese President Xi Jinping’s controversial visit to Prague.
But it turns out that while Czech President Miloš Zeman was serenading Jinping on the piano, he wasn’t requesting any panda bears.
And according to Prague Zoo chief Miroslav Bobek, giant pandas won’t be heading to the Czech capital’s Zoo any time soon.
“We halted preparations a few months ago, because President Zeman did not ask his Chinese counterpart for giant pandas and did not secure them for the Czech Republic,” Bobek told iDnes.cz.
According to Bobek, the Czech Republic has been overtaken by several other countries in its application for giant panda bears, which live in the wild only in certain regions of China. And incoming Prague leaders aren’t pushing to obtain them.
“According to my information, the current management of the capital city does not endorse the project, and is therefore only a matter of time when it will be officially closed,” Bobek said.
Ex Prague mayor Adriana Krnáčová was one of the most vocal supporters of bringing pandas to Prague Zoo.
While development of the new pavilion, built in place of the current location that houses polar bears, is expected to continue as planned, it will instead house different species of bears.
According to Presidential spokesperson Jiří Ovčáček, the logistics of maintaining the pandas may have been a stumbling block.
“You know, it’s not just about the pandas, but then you have to import a lot of bamboo, because pandas don’t eat anything else,” he told iDnes.