It’s been almost 17 years, but we are once again going to see Giant Pandas grace the UK.
In a historic agreement signed today, Edinburgh Airport will receive two Giant Pandas as part of China’s giant panda breeding programme. The agreement is a result of five years of political and diplomatic negotiation.
The giant pandas, Tian Tian and Yangguang – a breeding pair both born in 2003 – will live in a specially refurbished enclosure that was once home to the zoo’s gorillas. The enclosure will offer comfort to the pandas and visibility so that the visiting public can see them.
Currently, only nine zoos outside China hold Giant Pandas. If you wish to see a Giant Panda in Europe you need to visit you Madrid, Vienna or Berlin. A date has yet to be set for the arrival of the Pandas.
Welcoming the announcement, Culture and External Affairs Minister Fiona Hyslop said: “Edinburgh Zoo has a world-leading reputation for animal conservation and I am delighted that Scotland has been chosen to take part in China’s breeding programme for giant pandas.
“The agreement gives Scotland an important role in securing the future of this endangered species. As well as supporting China’s work to protect these animals, the arrival of the pandas is expected to bring significant economic benefits for Scotland in terms of tourism, attracting hundreds of thousands of additional visitors to the zoo.”