The giant pandas at Edinburgh Zoo will not be breeding this year, it has been confirmed.
The panda pair – female Tian Tian and her male partner Yang Guang – arrived in Edinburgh in December 2011 on a ten-year loan from China.
Today, Edinburgh Zoo confirmed to the Evening News that the pandas will not be breeding in 2018.
A spokesman said: “We will not attempt to breed our giant pandas this year because we want to further assess the incredibly complex and unpredictable breeding process.
“This pause, which is supported by our giant panda team and other key specialists, will allow us further time to consider the scientific data, our own experiences and those of colleagues around the world, including the latest thinking on giant panda accommodation.
“We routinely use data and learning to inform our approach to breeding, with the successful mating of our polar bears Victoria and Arktos and the birth of their cub at our Highland Wildlife Park a good example.
“In the meantime, the pause will also enable us to make some enhancements to our giant panda enclosure which would not have been practical either during or between breeding seasons.
“We very much hope Tian Tian has a cub in the future and will be thrilled if this happens. Even without breeding success as yet, RZSS is playing a crucial role in safeguarding this magnificent species by helping fund conservation projects in China alongside international partners.
“These projects are critical, with fewer than two thousand giant pandas in the wild.
The zoo claims members of staff were told of the news today.
However a source claims the decision was made late last year.