Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team
Date: December 8, 2021 5:30 am
Giant Panda Yang Guang feeds on bamboo in his habitat at the Edinburgh Zoo where he will be spending a further two years before returning to China
Photo Credit: RZSS
Edinburgh Zoo have announced that their giant pandas will return to China in 2023 following a further two year extension to their loan. It is hoped that the extension will allow their keepers to travel with them when they return to China.
Giant pandas Yang Guang and Tian Tian have been residents at Edinburgh Zoo since December 2011 when the zoo began a a 10-year arrangement between the wildlife conservation charity and the China Wildlife Conservation Association.
David Field, RZSS chief executive, said, “We are thrilled that Yang Guang and Tian Tian will be staying at Edinburgh Zoo for two more years.
“Through co-operation with our partners in China, we have had many successes over the past ten years in terms of technique exchanges, scientific research and public engagement."
“Yang Guang and Tian Tian have helped millions of people connect with nature, so it is fantastic that they will be with us a little longer before we say goodbye, especially as the pandemic has made it much harder for people to visit them."
“We also hope that international travel restrictions will ease over the next two years, meaning our giant panda keepers will be able to travel with Yang Guang and Tian Tian to China and help them settle into their new homes. This will be ideal as they both have strong bonds with our panda team.”
Edinburgh Zoo will now commence planning to convert the habitat for a new species once the pandas leave in 2023. This planning will focus on ensuring that the exhibit becomes home to a species which is is need of conservation efforts.
“Many other animals still face the threat of extinction and we are excited about working with a new species at the zoo. We will decide on the species over the next year, with a crucial factor being how we can support conservation in the wild.”
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During their stay at the zoo Yang Guang and Tian Tian have unfortunately become known for their many unsuccessful attempt to become parents. During this two year extension no breeding attempts will be made.
“A cub would have generated even more interest in giant pandas and given Tian Tian a wonderful opportunity to be a mother again, after she gave birth in China.” said Field.
“However, natural and artificial insemination breeding attempts have not been successful and now is the time to move on and just enjoy having Yang Guang and Tian Tian with us for two more years.
“We are very proud of the contribution we have made to giant panda breeding research alongside our partners at the University of Edinburgh and our findings have been of real benefit to international efforts to protect the species.”
During the time Yang Guang and Tian Tian have been Scottish citizens much has changed in their native China. This includes their species going from endangered to vulnerable. Mr. Field explained more, "“It is encouraging that the status of giant pandas in the wild has been moved by the IUCN from endangered to vulnerable thanks to conservation efforts in China. However, their conservation still faces many challenges, so we will continue to make a substantial annual donation to support this work while Yang Guang and Tian Tian remain with us."
Giant panda Tian Tian explores her habitat at the Edinburgh Zoo where she will be staying for further two years
Photo Credit: RZSS