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Final Chance to See Edinburgh Zoo’s Giant Pandas before China Return

Edinburgh Zoo is offering visitors a final chance to see its giant pandas before they return to China.

Tian Tian and Yang Guang will go back in December under the terms of a 10-year loan, which was extended by two years due to the Covid pandemic.

The exact date of the pandas’ return is not being disclosed.

But the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS), which runs the zoo, has said it will be restricting access to them from Thursday 30 November.

The pair arrived in Scotland in 2011 – with the zoo paying £750,000 a year to China – but have failed to produce offspring.

The zoo and veterinarians from China made eight unsuccessful attempts at artificial insemination between the pair. The last attempt was in 2021, after which the giant panda breeding programme was stopped.

David Field, RZSS chief executive, said, “With more than a million species at risk of extinction and our natural world in crisis, Yang Guang and Tian Tian have had an incredible impact by inspiring millions of people to care about nature.”

“That added interest in the panda’s departure this year has allowed us to connect many more people with the conservation causes that RZSS is actively involved with, and with nature more generally.”

He added: “Through scientific research by our expert veterinary and keeper teams, working alongside the University of Edinburgh, we have made a significant contribution to our understanding around giant panda fertility, husbandry, and veterinary care – which has been of real benefit to efforts to protect this amazing species in China.

“It is encouraging that in recent years the outlook for giant pandas in the wild has improved, which gives real hope for the future.”

Source : BBC