Visitors still allowed during panda mating period

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VISITORS to Edinburgh Zoo are to be allowed in to see the giant pandas during the mating period, but only at times when the pair are separated.

It is expected that zoo staff will introduce Yang Guang and Tian Tian early on Tuesday morning, before opening to the public. They will then introduce them again during the day for a short period, during which no visitors will be allowed, and the pair will also be put together in the evening after the zoo has closed.

Yesterday a spokeswoman for the Zoo said: “The pandas have been staying cool inside today. He’s been eating, he’s been in the pool, she’s been sleeping mainly and they’ve been indoors most of the time.”

It is not clear what will happen when the two are put in the same enclosure and there is a risk they will fight instead of mating.

If this happens loud music will be played to frighten Yang Guang out of the enclosure – and staff may even use an apple, his favourite snack, to lure him out.

All of the introductions will be watched by Alison Maclean, panda team leader at Edinburgh Zoo, Iain Valentine, director of research and conservation, and expert vet Professor Tang.