How China's booming panda business works

Pandas are a big business -- and the zoos lucky enough to receive a loan face tremendous costs.

Baby tax and extra fees

panda cub

Zoos are expected to make every effort to breed pandas. If newborn cubs live to about six months, centers are typically required to pay a $200,000 fee to China, Towne said. Because pandas are an endangered species, it's possible for countries or zoos that are very successful in breeding to negotiate a lower baby tax.

And once the cubs reach four years of age, they have to be returned to China.

But beware: If any of China's cuddly pandas die on your watch due to human error, be prepared to pay a $500,000 fine.

- Last updated October 15 2013 05:00 AM ET
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