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Panda Cub Throws a Kink in San Diego Zoo’s Renegotiations With China

Audio

Aired 4/19/09

Maureen Cavanaugh (Guest Host): There's a lot of commotion at the San Diego Zoo this week. Giant panda Bai Yun gave birth to a cub on Friday after two and a half hours in labor. The newborn cub is the fourth giant panda born at the zoo, all of them to Bai Yun. The cub's father is Gao Gao. This baby panda is sure to be a hit at the zoo, just like other panda cubs before her.

The pandas actually are on loan from China. And they're not cheap. The San Diego Zoo has spent $30 million on the pandas since 1996. The zoo pays one million dollars each year to keep the Giant Pandas. China is owed a one-time fee of six-hundred-thousand dollars for each cub that is born. But all that is up for renegotiation next year. Zoos are having a hard time recouping those costs, even though the pandas hold rock star status in the zoo.

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