Edinburgh Zoo panda deal may fail
From Daily Record:
A deal to bring giant pandas to scandal-hit Edinburgh Zoo is in danger of collapsing.
Sacked zoo executive Anthony McReavy claimed the Chinese government may pull the plug on the agreement.
McReavy was axed last week and fellow executive Iain Valentine was suspended.
Valentine was a key figure in sealing the deal to bring two giant pandas to the zoo.
McReavy warned: “The Chinese government will be seriously concerned about what is going on at the zoo.
“Iain was the driving force behind the Chinese allowing the giant pandas to come to Scotland.
“He is the man the Chinese trust. He has the experience to look after the animals but that’s all up in the air now.”
McReavy added: “I was responsible for finding sponsors to raise funds for the pandas coming and there’s a danger the money secured will now be withdrawn.
“It’s all about relationships and building trust – Iain had that with senior members of the Chinese government and I had it with the sponsors.”
The zoo scandal began when fraud allegations were made last month against interim chief operating officer Gary Wilson.
McReavy, who was the zoo’s director of development, and Valentine, director of animals, conservation and education, were put in charge during an investigation into the allegations.Monkey McReavy, 40, who had been in his post only 11 months, was sacked after his fellow directors found him to be in “contempt of the board”.
He claimed he was axed for raising concerns about the way the zoo was being run.
Wilson, 47, was suspended amid accusations that he had siphoned money from the £4.5million Budongo monkey house to pay for a £50,000 extension to his home in Dunblane, Perthshire.
He will return to work later this month, having been cleared of any wrongdoing.
In the Record last week, Wilson said he was the victim of a smear campaign.
The deal to bring eight-yearold giant pandas Tian Tian and Yang Guang to Edinburgh was signed in January. No date has been set for their arrival.
McReavy said yesterday: “The UK Government will be watching developments at Edinburgh Zoo closely as they are trying to develop trade links with the Chinese and they don’t want anything putting those ties at risk.”
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Entry filed under: Giant Pandas.