World Animal Day
Today is World Animal Day, an international day devoted to animals and their welfare. We thought this was a good opportunity to look at the work Edinburgh Zoo has been doing to help the conservation of the giant panda.
It is estimated that less than 2000 pandas remain in the wild today. They were once found across central, southern and eastern China, Myanmar and northern Vietnam. Sadly, this area has shrunk to just a small part of central China, due to loss of habitat. Conservationists believe that the best chance of survival for pandas is through the protection of their environment in the wild, supported by a carefully managed captive breeding programme.
Panda Conservation Edinburgh
On 4th December 2011, Edinburgh welcomed two giant pandas named Tian Tian and Yang Guang to the zoo. They are the only pandas in the UK, on a ten year loan from the Wolong Panda Breeding Centre in China. As a conservation charity, the zoo manages the panda breeding programme and conducts vital research on the species. It also gives financial support towards research and conservation activity in China, as part of the loan agreement.
There has been a lot of excitement surrounding the panda’s residency in Edinburgh, along with much interest in the breeding programme. Now almost half way through their ten years here, we are yet hear the pitter patter of tiny panda feet. There are only two to four days each year when a female panda can become pregnant, which makes it difficult, but the zoo remains confident in the programme. We will just have to wait and see!
How you can help
The number of giant pandas in the wild is now slowly increasing, but it remains one of the rarest species in the world. You can support the zoo in its plight to safeguard animals from extinction – visit, become a member, make a donation or adopt an animal.
Visiting the pandas
If you’d like to visit the pandas at Edinburgh Zoo, check in advance to see if the enclosures are open for viewing. There are times during the breeding season (between spring and autumn) when they are partially or fully closed off to the public. When open, it is advised to book a viewing slot in advance with your zoo tickets to avoid disappointment.
If you’re staying with us at The Dunstane, the zoo is 10 minutes away by bus and 5 minutes by car or taxi. Just ask a member of staff if you need diections or any other help.