The zoo’s director Dennis Kelly told the Post that the decrease in federal funding could result in the closure of one of the National Zoo’s most prized exhibits.
"We’re to the bone," Kelly says. "I will never compromise on animal welfare or human safety, but we’re now at the point where we’d have to lop off a whole module."
A spokesperson with the National Zoo told the Washington Free Beacon that the panda bear exhibit would not be among those on the chopping block. Billionaire co-founder of the Carlyle Group David Rubenstein donated $4.5 million to zoo’s panda bear fertility research in late 2011. Large donations from panda bear enthusiasts have helped offset the zoo’s nealry $1 million annual operating expenses for the endangered species.