Giant Pandas Arrive at Edinburgh Zoo

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Two giant pandas are to be the first to live in the UK for 17 years after they were flown over from China to Edinburgh Zoo on Sunday. Tian Tian, meaning ‘Sweetie', and Yang Guang, meaning ‘Sunshine', are said to be settling in well but are still a little jet lagged.

The pandas arrived as part of developing links between Scotland and China, and have been lent to the zoo from Bifengxia Panda Base. After a couple of weeks of settling in to their new home, they will go on show to the public from Friday 16th December and are expected to stay at the zoo for at least the next ten years.

Five Years Effort

The pandas have a brand new £250,000 enclosure and Edinburgh Zoo's director of business operations, Gary Wilson, revealed:

"They are getting on very well. We were really surprised how well they settled into their enclosure. They are obviously quite jet lagged. They are in a strange sequence of sleeping for two hours and eating for two hours, a bit like most humans when they fly half way around the world."

The pair were transported on a nine-hour flight during which they ate a mixture of bamboo, apples, mineral water and a special cake. As they arrived in Scotland it marked the culmination of five years of effort by the zoo and they were greeted by crowds of people all hoping for a glimpse.

Although the two eight-year-olds are currently in separate enclosures, though zoo keepers are planning to introduce them to one another when Tian Tian comes into season in February or March. Though it is notoriously difficult to breed giant pandas, the keepers are hopeful that there will be further additions to the pair over the next ten years.

First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond met with the Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang in Beijing on Monday, as the two countries hope to build business and cultural links. Salmond personally thanked the Chinese representative for the "generous gift" of the pandas.


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