The board of Ähtäri Zoo, currently home to two giant pandas on loan from China, has decided the rare animals need to be sent back to China, due to a lack of resources at the facility.
The zoo issued a statement about the decision on Friday morning, but exactly when the pandas, named Lumi and Pyry, are to be returned was unclear.
The zoo has struggled to pay for the care of the giant pandas for some time, as ticket sales income has not covered the roughly 1.5 million euros per year it costs to maintain the animals.
The facility is almost entirely owned by the city of Ähtäri in South Ostrobothnia, about 145 km north of Tampere.
On Wednesday, Agricultural Minister Antti Kurvinen (Cen) announced that the ministry was not going ahead with short-lived plans to earmark five million euros to help the zoo's panda maintenance costs.
Earlier this week, the Finance Ministry announced it was looking to set aside five million euros to turn the loss-making panda zoo into a foundation.
More decisions coming
On Friday, the zoo announced that it needs to return the giant pandas to China because the ministries' funding arrangement fell through.
According to the board, the pandas' situation will be examined by a multi-ministerial working group, consisting of members from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
Decisions about a timetable for returning the giant pandas will be made by the zoo's board at a meeting scheduled for 28 February.
"This is the zoo's own decision," said Risto Sivonen, Ähtäri Zoo's board chair.
The two giant pandas arrived in Finland in 2018 after a state visit to the Nordic country by Chinese President Xi Jinping the previous year.
The animals' loan arrangement between Finland and China was meant to be for a duration of 15 years.