The Chinese government has threatened to take back Yang Yang and Long Hui, the two pandas on loan from China at the Schönbrunn Zoo. The threat came in May as a response to Chancellor Faymann’s meeting with the Dalai Lama on Austrian soil last year. Due to China’s tense relationship with the exiled Tibetan leader, which dates back to the 1950s, the government viewed the meeting as a potential risk to internal affairs.
Yang Yang and Long Hui have been a main attraction of the Tiergarten since their arrival in 2003, when they were gifted to Austria on a 10-year loan. In 2010 the happy Panda couple gave birth to their second offspring, Fu Hu. Last year, China renewed the loan for an additional 10 years.
The politics of international alliances can get messy, which raises the question: If the relationship turns sour, which country will win custody of the cubs?