New chief at helm as pandas help zoo double visitors

Have your say

THE new chief executive of Edinburgh Zoo has taken up his post as it emerged giant pandas have doubled visitor numbers at the attraction.

Professor Chris West comes to the helm following six years as CEO of Zoo South Australia which racked up debts of more than £15 million and struggled to pay for a giant panda enclosure under his tenure. After one of the most turbulent times in the history of Edinburgh Zoo, Professor West takes over from acting chief executive Hugh Roberts.

The zoo came under the spotlight last year ahead of the arrival of the giant pandas after anonymous allegations over the conduct of several managers eventually led to the sacking of one executive. Chairman Donald Emslie resigned and acting chief executive Gary Walker also later left.

The zoo said yesterday the pandas had boosted its popularity with 300,000 visitors passing through the enclosure alone and the knock-on effect was that they had doubled the number of visitors prior to their arrival.