Edinburgh Zoo pandas: When do the giant pandas leave Edinburgh Zoo? All you need to know ahead of pandas' exit

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The bears have had ‘an incredible impact’ after nearly twelve years at Edinburgh zoo.

Fans of Edinburgh Zoo's beloved giant pandas will have a little longer to say goodbye before they return to China, with their leaving date expected to fall in early December.

It was originally believed that Yang Guang and Tian Tian, who arrived in Scotland in December 2011, would leave their home of twelve years in October. But while the exact date hasn’t been confirmed, the zoo has said it is likely to fall within the first two weeks of December.

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Alison Maclean, carnivore team leader at Edinburgh Zoo, said: “We are making arrangements with our partners in China for Yang Guang and Tian Tian to return in early December, possibly during the first week. Visitors to the zoo can expect to see them indoors and outside until the end of November, after which viewing will be outdoors only until they leave.

Edinburgh Zoo has announced that giant pandas Yang Guang and Tian Tian will stay until early December.Edinburgh Zoo has announced that giant pandas Yang Guang and Tian Tian will stay until early December.
Edinburgh Zoo has announced that giant pandas Yang Guang and Tian Tian will stay until early December.

“Having cared for Yang Guang and Tian Tian since they arrived in 2011, I will be travelling back to China with them to help them settle into their new homes.

The rare pandas’ stay in Scotland was part of a 10 year agreement between the Royal Zoological Society Scotland (RZSS) and the China Wildlife Conservation Association, which was later extended by two years. As part of plans for a fitting farewell, a series of prize draws were launched giving an exclusive opportunity to feed one of them. Limited Panda Magic Moments went on sale to RZSS members, patrons and giant panda adopters, selling out in a matter of hours.

David Field, RZSS chief executive, said: “With more than a million species at risk of extinction and our natural world in crisis, Yang Guang and Tian have had an incredible impact by inspiring millions of people to care about nature.

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“Through scientific research alongside the University of Edinburgh, we have also made a significant contribution to our understanding of giant pandas, which will be of real benefit to efforts to protect this amazing species in China. It is encouraging that in recent years the outlook for giant pandas in the wild has improved, which gives real hope for the future.”

The giant panda habitat at Edinburgh Zoo will become home to a new species RZSS can support in the wild, which will be announced next year.

“Our vision is of a world where nature is protected, valued and loved, which is why we have made an important pledge to reverse the decline of at least 50 species by 2030,” said Mr Field.

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