Edinburgh Zoo: Giant pandas to stay at Edinburgh Zoo for another two years

Scotland will remain home to the UK’s only giant pandas for two more years following an agreement to extend their stay with the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland’s Edinburgh Zoo.

Tuesday, 7th December 2021, 11:15 am

Yang Guang and Tian Tian arrived in Edinburgh in December 2011 as part of a 10-year arrangement between the wildlife conservation charity and the China Wildlife Conservation Association.

It has been agreed that the pair will now return to China at the end of 2023.

David Field, RZSS chief executive, said he is thrilled with the news that the panda’s are staying put.

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He said: “Through co-operation with our partners in China, we have had many successes over the past ten years in terms of technique exchanges, scientific research and public engagement.

“Yang Guang and Tian Tian have helped millions of people connect with nature, so it is fantastic that they will be with us a little longer before we say goodbye, especially as the pandemic has made it much harder for people to visit them.”

He added that he hopes international travel restrictions will ease over the next couple of years to allow for the giant panda keepers to travel with Yang Guang and Tian Tian to China to help settle them in their new homes.

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Edinburgh Zoo: Giant pandas to stay at Edinburgh Zoo for another two years

The charity has confirmed that breeding will not be attempted during the final two years of the giant pandas being in Edinburgh.

Mr Field said that while a cub would have increased interest in the species and given Tian Tian an opportunity to be a mother again, previous artificial attempts had failed so it was now time to just enjoy the pandas being around.

He continued: “We are very proud of the contribution we have made to giant panda breeding research alongside our partners at the University of Edinburgh and our findings have been of real benefit to international efforts to protect the species.

"However, natural and artificial insemination breeding attempts have not been successful and now is the time to move on and just enjoy having Yang Guang and Tian Tian with us for two more years.”

Edinburgh Zoo: Giant pandas to stay at Edinburgh Zoo for another two years

Plans will be made to convert the giant panda habitat at the zoo for a new endangered species to arrive.

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Edinburgh Zoo: Giant pandas to stay at Edinburgh Zoo for another two years