Zoo pandas hit new heights with upgrade to enclosures

Tian Tian trying out her new climbing frame at the zoo
Tian Tian trying out her new climbing frame at the zoo
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GIANT panda Yang Guang has shown he is the king of the swingers after discovering a new climbing frame at Edinburgh Zoo.

The 18-stone male was given the huge wooden structure to give him more exercise and add stimulation to his daily routine, which normally involves nothing more strenuous than hours of sleeping and eating bamboo shoots.

He quickly amazed – and terrified – keepers with his strength and agility, easily negotiating the multi-platform levels and effortlessly swinging upside down from the roof of his tree house before rolling around for fun.

The impressive display was captured on film by panda keeper Sharon Hatton, and posted on YouTube.

Female Tian Tian has also been given her own frame in her enclosure next door.

The bespoke “panda adventure climbing frames”, erected by the zoo’s in-house team, feature multi-height platforms, ramps and a roofed tree house.

Alison Maclean, panda team leader at Edinburgh Zoo, admitted Yang Guang’s gymnastics gave her a fright.

She said: “With little hesitation, Yang Guang bravely headed straight up on the roof of his tree house to explore.

“With curiosity to rival a cat he smoothly manoeuvred himself to hang off the tree house, swinging head first backwards and forwards, with only his back paws holding on to the roof above.

“Whilst rubbing his face with his front paws he looked like he was having a great time, but I must admit I took a deep intake of breath at his boldness.

“Pandas are extremely agile, often climbing trees and getting themselves into positions that seem almost impossible to us.

“It was a brilliant moment seeing Yang Guang inspecting his new climbing frame and showing typical panda behaviour. He even rolled around on the tree house roof, tummy to the sun.

“The feature is a fantastic addition to his outdoor enclosure and the climbing frames even offer Tian Tian and Yang Guang additional areas to shelter from the sun – or more likely rain.

“We hope to see them dozing happily on their platforms as warmer weather comes to Scotland.”

Both pandas have suffered from colic in recent weeks, but their agility over their new climbing apparatus proves they are back to full health.