Comment: Zoo’s premiership stars take centrestage

Tian Tian is believed to be pregnant again
Tian Tian is believed to be pregnant again
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We had begun to think it was never going to happen.

When Tian Tian and Yang Guang arrived at Edinburgh Zoo with the express aim of producing a panda cub, the interest and expectation was huge. Do you remember Panda Watch complete with live video cams and film crews from around the world?

Fast forward six years and our attention had mostly moved on to other things. Not any more. You can expect to hear a lot more about the pandas in the coming weeks.

Of course we must not, erm, count our chickens before they hatch, but there is a great deal of optimism about the prospects this time. This will be seen as a feather in the cap for the zoo’s conservation work. It also promises a significant economic boost at a time when questions were being asked about the attraction’s pulling power.

Pandas are the zoological equivalent of Premiership footballers. They are expensive to sign and certainly high maintenance - but they definitely pull in the crowds.

And at £19 a time that is a significant boost for the zoo’s balance books. Then there are all the plushy toys in the gift shop. Parents brace yourselves for panda-mania.