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Britain sent the last pandas to China

Britain sent the last pandas to China Britain has handed over the last pandas in the country to China (photo: Getty Images)

Scotland has sent two pandas to China after the bears spent 12 years at the Edinburgh Zoo. They were the only pandas in the United Kingdom, according to АР.

Pandas Yang Guang and Tian Tian are the latest to leave zoos in Western countries after the expiration of exchange agreements, which China chose not to renew. They were loaned to the Edinburgh Zoo in 2011 under a 10-year agreement, later extended by the China Wildlife Conservation Association for an additional two years.

After unsuccessful attempts at natural and artificial breeding, the zoo announced that it does not plan to continue and will focus on the protection of animals under the threat of extinction.

"With more than a million species at risk of extinction and our natural world in crisis, Yang Guang and Tian Tian have had an incredible impact by inspiring millions of people to care about nature," said David Field, the Chief Executive of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland.

The importance of pandas

China holds a monopoly on pandas and typically leases them rather than selling. These leases often cost hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, and experts refer to this practice as panda diplomacy.

The black-and-white bears have long been a symbol of Sino-American friendship. It began when Beijing gifted a pair of pandas to the National Zoo in Washington in 1972, just before the normalization of bilateral relations.

Later, Beijing loaned pandas to other U.S. zoos, and the funds generated were directed towards panda conservation programs.

During a recent meeting in San Francisco, U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping discussed the panda issue. Xi referred to the animals as messengers of friendship between the Chinese and American peoples and stated that he would send new pandas to the United States.