Edinburgh Zoo bids farewell to beloved pandas after 12 years

Edinburgh Zoo has announced that its two giant pandas, Yang Guang and Tian Tian, will be returning to China after 12 years of living in Scotland. The zoo said that the decision was made after a long and difficult negotiation with the Chinese authorities, who own the pandas and loan them to foreign zoos for a fee.

Pandas were a major attraction for the zoo

The pandas arrived in Edinburgh in December 2011, as part of a 10-year agreement that was later extended by two years. They were the first and only giant pandas in the UK, and attracted millions of visitors to the zoo over the years. The zoo said that the pandas generated more than £120 million for the Scottish economy and helped raise awareness and funds for panda conservation.

Darren McGarry, head of living collections at Edinburgh Zoo, said that the pandas were “utter rockstars” and that the zoo staff and visitors would miss them dearly. He said that the zoo was proud of its achievements in panda research and care, and that it hoped to continue its collaboration with China in the future.

Pandas failed to produce cubs despite multiple attempts

One of the main goals of the panda loan programme was to breed more pandas in captivity, as the species is endangered in the wild. However, despite several artificial insemination procedures and natural mating attempts, Yang Guang and Tian Tian never managed to produce any offspring.

Edinburgh Zoo bids farewell to beloved pandas after 12 years

The zoo said that the pandas’ reproductive behaviour was complex and influenced by many factors, such as hormones, genetics, environment and health. It said that it learned a lot from the pandas’ breeding cycles and that it shared its findings with other zoos and conservation organisations.

The zoo also said that it was not giving up on its dream of having panda cubs, and that it was exploring the possibility of bringing back another pair of pandas in the future. It said that it would need to secure a new agreement with China and raise enough funds to support the pandas’ welfare and conservation.

Pandas will leave Scotland in the next few weeks

The zoo said that it was working closely with the Chinese authorities to arrange the safe and smooth transport of the pandas back to China. It said that the pandas would leave Scotland in the next few weeks, and that it would announce the exact date and details soon.

The zoo also said that it was planning a special farewell event for the pandas, and that it would invite the public to join in. It said that it would update its website and social media channels with more information.

The zoo thanked the Scottish and UK governments, the Chinese government, the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, the panda keepers and vets, and the zoo supporters and visitors for their contribution and support to the panda project. It said that the pandas had been a source of joy and inspiration for many people, and that they would always have a special place in the zoo’s history and hearts.

By Ishan Crawford

Prior to the position, Ishan was senior vice president, strategy & development for Cumbernauld-media Company since April 2013. He joined the Company in 2004 and has served in several corporate developments, business development and strategic planning roles for three chief executives. During that time, he helped transform the Company from a traditional U.S. media conglomerate into a global digital subscription service, unified by the journalism and brand of Cumbernauld-media.

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