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Chinese giant pandas arrive in Edinburgh


Panda lovers in the UK have been waiting for the arrival of "Tian tian" and "Yang guang", Edinburgh zoo's newest tenants. The giant bears left Chengdu in Sichuan early Sunday morning and will touchdown in Scotland later in the evening Beijing time.

Both pandas headed West Sunday morning in a private Boeing 777.

The "FedEx Panda Express" waited for its two first class passengers who were busying chewing before departure.

Chinese giant pandas arrive in Edinburgh
Chinese giant pandas arrive in Edinburgh. [Photo/Xinhua]


"Tian tian" and "Yang guang" are the first pandas to arrive in the UK in 17 years, creating a lot of hype. As preparations continue in Edinburough, some worry the bears may be overwhelmed by fans’ enthusiasm.

Hugh Roberts, chief executive from Edinburgh Zoo, said: "We have had a tremendous response. Our website has been inundated with people who want to know about pandas.when they can come here. Our booking lines have been inundated."

Someone said: "I'm a very big fan of pandas. And we're all really excited that they're coming because they're so special."

The eight-year-old couple "Tian tian" and "Yang guang" were born in 2003 in the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda in Sichuan province. Their arrival in the UK is part of a 10-year China-UK joint research program studying how human-bred pandas can survive in the wild. Mother to be,"Tian tian", is expected to give birth during their decade overseas.

Xie Hao, care taker of China Conservation and Research Center for Giant Panda said: "The boy Yang guang is very gentle, so much that when he was a little cub, he was sometimes bullied by other pandas. He is a big softy. However, he loves humans. He often approaches visitors and is loved by people. But the girl 'Tian tian' is shy and timid, especially to strangers. It may take her longer to get used to their new home in the UK."

The pandas will live separately in enclosures, each worth nearly 2.5 million yuan RMB, or 250,000 pounds sterling. Both have a pond, a cave and climbing structures made from tree trunks. Posters have already been hung and cameras set up as the UK waits for the pandas arrival to their new home.