Guangzhou Zoo's animal adoption program stagnant
Fewer than 30 people and only 14 organizations have been involved in Guangzhou Zoo's animal adoption program, since it was launched in 1998.
And only foreigners participated in the panda adoption program.
However, the zoo has collected only 64,000 Yuan (US$7,900) for animal programs throughout seven years.
A staff member at the zoo said only 28 individuals and 14 organizations were involved in the adoption program, including primary and middle schools.
South China tigers and silver pheasants were two species readily adopted, as they cost less. The zoo's finance director said it had been years since the last animal was fostered.
Among the giant panda sponsors, not one was Chinese. The giant panda was fostered through the China Giant Panda Protection Center in Wolong, Sichuan Province.
On Dec.31, 2004, a Japanese girl flew from Tokyo to Guangzhou just to visit her foster panda called Shishi.
Shishi has been to the United States and is the zoo's only giant panda. On seeing Shishi, the girl was very excited, feeding it carrots and calling its name.
"In foreign countries, one third of the zoo's spending comes from adoptions by individuals or enterprises and there were about 1,000 animals adopted in each of the zoos in Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu," Secretary-general of China Zoo Association Xie Zhong said.
"Compared with the adoption systems in foreign zoos, systems in domestic zoos drag far behind, and there are many reasons for that," Xie said.
First, the level of the economy in China was still not high and people's living standards needed to be raised. At present, Chinese people preferred concentrating on improving the level of material life, so they hardly spared any time or money to protect wild animals. The adoption fees were also quite expensive.
For example, the fee for adopting a giant panda for a year is 100,000 yuan (US$12,000). Secondly, promotional activities by zoos in China are not as dynamic as those abroad, so not many people understand the meaning of adoption. Thirdly, the adoption systems abroad are supported by preferential taxation policies. Overseas enterprises also prefer an image of getting along with Nature by adopting animals.