03/28/2008 02:45 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

China Ends Policy Of "Panda Diplomacy"

The world's cuddliest diplomats are out of a job. China will no longer give giant pandas to foreign countries as a way of improving international relations, the domestic media has reported. Ending an ancient tradition, wildlife officials said the endangered animals would only be lent for breeding and biological research.

But questions are likely to be raised about the financial motives behind a decision that looks likely to boost the lucrative business of renting out the animals to zoos for as much as $1m (£490,000) a year.

Read more on The Guardian (U.K.)