The sale of paintings by a female panda has funded a book about giant pandas with pictures by an Austrian photographer who has spent 10 years snapping the animals in the world’s oldest zoo.
The pictures give an insight into the lifestyle of the pandas in the zoo regarded as the most successful outside of China with the breeding of rare animals.
It also shows the conditions in the zoo where the pandas clearly feel at home and have produced five cubs since they arrived in the country.
The 244 page book by photographer Daniel Zupanc and entitled ‘Pandas – a Vienna Schönbrunn Zoo Success Story’ was funded by the sale of artwork by female panda Yang Yang.
Yang Yang is the mother of all the Austrian panda cubs, most recently twins in 2016. Like all her other offspring, Fu Feng and Fu Ban are now in China. She is the first panda ever to successfully raise twins without outside help.
Her paintings also helped pay for Daniel to travel to China to see Yang Yang’s cubs including Fu Long, Fu Hu and Fu Bao.
Zoo director Dagmar Schratter said: “The birth of Fu Long and later the births of the panda twins are moments I will never forget.”
Her predecessor Helmut Pechlaner also recounted how he handled the negotiations with China and realised at the last minute that he needed to buy a suit and smarten up if he was going to sign a deal to get a Panda pair. The deal was a success and in 2003 Yang Yang and Long Hui arrived from China.
The book includes interviews with keepers about the life of the pandas behind the scenes and talks about their special characteristics and likes and dislikes from those that know them best.