On Sunday, Edinburgh welcomed two Giant Pandas to it’s city Zoo. The Giant Pandas will live in Edinburgh for 10 years on loan in a global conservation programme. The two adult Pandas, a male and female named Yang Guang and Tian Tian, arrived to the Zoo via private jet with much ceremony including crowds of visitors, a bagpipe reception and Bamboo cake!
They will be unveiled to the public on December 16th after a settling in period. The Pandas were flown 10 hours to Edinburgh where it is hoped they will produce cubs. Though any visitors may wonder how this will happen when the Pandas will live in separate enclosures. However Pandas are very shy creatures and prefer to stay alone, part of the reason the have become an endangered species is because they are too shy to venture to new ground to find more food in the wild. The Pandas will be introduced to each other in early spring for a few days and hopes are high that the Pandas will reproduce.
19 Pandas have been born in breeding programmes in captivity this year. But breeding in-Zoo has not been successful with previous UK Pandas. London Zoo’s 1974 arrivals. Ching Ching and Chia Chia, failed to reproduce any cubs in their time at the zoo and in fact proved very hard to keep. The Zoo had to ask for public funds for the Pandas to assist their shelter and their feeding. Pandas eat, on average, for 12 hours a day, very little of their food is digested so they eat in vast quantities. The Pandas were a star attraction at the Zoo and following Ching-Ching’s death in 1984 the Zoo immediately sought another pair of Pandas. In 1991 two more Pandas arrived, Ming Ming from China and Bao Bao from Berlin. Hopes this pair would reproduce were dashed when it was discovered the Pandas fought on contact. They were eventually sent home a few years later and the UK has been Panda -less for 17 years.
Many see the arrival of the Pandas as a sign of good links with China and there are hopes they will boost the Scottish tourism economy. A considerable amount of advance tickets have been bought and an extra million visitors are expected at the zoo. However, Conservationists are not entirely happy with the arrival and say the money would be better spent keeping the animals in their own habitat. We at Edinburgh Seasons are happy with the Ginat Pandas and welcome Tian Tian and Yang Guang with big smiles!