Turns out, the beloved pandas that reside at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., are on an extended loan from China, and the lease is up on December 7, 2020. If President Trump hasn’t ended his trade war with China, there’s a chance that Mei Xiang and Tian Tian could be repossessed and taken back to China, the Washington Post reports. On a side note: Who knew you could rent a panda like a Lexus?
China first started renting pandas to the U.S. in 2000, when China sent the zoo’s two current residents on a 10-year, $10 million lease. That lease price was lowered in 2011, when the parties extended the lease for another five years and renegotiated the rental terms from $1 million a year to $500,000.
The zoo told the Post that it has not started renegotiating its panda lease agreement with China and “could not speculate on an outcome,” partially because what exactly the U.S. political landscape will look like by late 2020 is a complete mystery, and because the president changes his mind about the trade war seemingly tweet by tweet.