Schönbrunn Pandas Future Uncertain

The future of the panda couple at Vienna’s Schönbrunn Zoo is still uncertain.

Despite the latest offspring there is still no new contract form Beijing China for the pandas who are on loan in the Austrian capital.

Just before Christmas Schönbrunn Zoo announced that the panda pair Yang Yang and Long Hui were to remain another ten years in Vienna after coming to an agreement with the ‘China Wildlife Conservation Association’.

However eight months later the contract is yet to be signed.

The zoo said: “We signed a ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ for the transition period. We have cleared everything with our cooperation partners. This transition period lasts until the middle of September. The proposed loan contract should then be for ten years. We do not know when this be signed.

A Chinese Embassy in Vienna spokesperson said: “Both sides are in contact with regards to the contract, but I don’t know when it will be signed.

The reason behind the delay is thought  to be a diplomatic issue. After a Dalai Lama visit last year the Beijing government is alleged to have demanded that the Austrian government never again meets the spiritual leader. It is speculated that the pandas are being used to put pressure on Austria.