Thailand has just brokered a deal with China that will allow Ling Ping, the celebrity panda born in Thailand, to stay. Under the agreement, she will first return to China in October to find a mate and then they will both return to Thailand within a year. The 10-year contract for her parents, Chuang Chuang and Lin Hui, is due to expire this October but the Chinese government has agreed to extend their stay while Lin Ping is away.
Good news for panda lovers but bad news for us tax payers. China had been charging US$250,000 per year for each giant panda. In October this will jump to $500,000 and then an incredible $1 million once Ling Ping returns. If her parents stay as well then that will be $4 million per year. What do you think? Is this really money well spent? Surely there are better things to spend money on?