Edinburgh Zoo’s giant panda Yang Guang shocked by electric fence at new enclosure

HORRIFIED families watched as one of Edinburgh Zoo’s giant pandas got a shock from the electric fence in his new enclosure.

Tuesday, 23rd July 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 23rd July 2019, 7:00 am
Giant Panda, Yang Guang, exploring his new home at  Edinburgh Zoo. Pic: RZSS/PA Wire
Giant Panda, Yang Guang, exploring his new home at Edinburgh Zoo. Pic: RZSS/PA Wire

A visitor reported seeing male Yang Guang – meaning Sunlight – reeling away in fear before cowering in his den.

Keepers said the charged perimeter was to keep both animals and the public safe while assuring the bear was only jolted once as he gets used to his new surroundings.

One zoo visitor said: “I saw the male panda try and climb the fence and he got electrocuted.

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“You could tell he was scared because he ran off into his den. The old enclosure had glass but this one doesn’t – it must be to stop him from climbing out but it’s cruel.”

The new pen was unveiled earlier this month with Yang Guang taking his first tentative steps around his new home.

Keepers are opening the new habitat to the public gradually, allowing time for both pandas to settle in.

Both Yang Guang and female Tian Tian – meaning Sweetie – were moved to prevent any disturbance from the redevelopment of the former Corstorphine Hospital next to the zoo.

The new pen ran into controversy after it was reportedly built with a secret £2 million grant from the Scottish Government after zoo chiefs threatened to block a windfall for taxpayers.

Bosses at the attraction demanded the cash after claiming building work on the 
neighbouring hospital could kill the bears.

Zoo chairman Jeremy Peat warned last year the construction noise and vibration could “lead to one or both dying”.

Yang Guang had both testicles removed after tumours were found – dealing a blow to breeding hopes.

A sixth attempt to artificially inseminate female Tian Tian took place in March.

Yang Guang and Tian Tian have been on loan to Edinburgh Zoo since 2011 from China in a £600,000-a-year deal – but hopes of panda cubs have so far come to nothing.

The zoo announced a few months ago no attempt will be made to get the pandas to breed this year.

Charlotte Macdonald, the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland’s director of conservation and living collections, said: “Yang Guang had one shock from an electric fence when he was exploring outside last week. Just like farm animals, zoo animals tend to learn very quickly to avoid electric fences, which are there for their safety and to protect the 
public.

“Yang Guang is being slowly introduced to his new surroundings and has been really enjoying playing on his platforms and climbing trees.