Edinburgh Zoo has launched a new and improved “panda-cam” so people across the world can watch two giant pandas in the run-up to mating season.
However, to ensure viewers see the highest quality footage of Tian Tian (Sweetie) and Yang Guang (Sunshine), staff members donned panda suits and roamed around the pen.
The unusual behaviour was to help replicate the pandas movement, which helps the cameras in tracking the animals
– Paul Murphy, spokesman for IndigoVision, the company providing the camera and software system
To detect Tian Tian and Yan Guang, whose movements differ greatly from ours, the technology had to be recalibrated by men pretending to be pandas.
So we had people dress up in panda suits to roam around the enclosure to allow our cameras to be optimised for their movements.
Animals obviously move at completely different speeds and in different ways to human beings.
– Jon-Paul Orsi, Digital Manager for the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland
We are extremely excited to launch our all-new panda cams.
The Zoo has been very lucky to work with IndigoVision. The intelligent tracking systems and new video cameras they have installed will provide not only our own visitors, but panda fans all over the world, with a high definition view of our pandas.
Other than visiting in person, this is the next best way to follow the antics of Tian Tian and Yang Guang.
Mr Orsi added that when “the time is right for the pandas to mate, it will be private and take place out of view of the 'panda-cams'”.
However, viewers of the “panda-cam” can expect to see other seasonal behaviour including scent marking, panda hand stands and increased appetite for bamboo.
Yang Guang (Sunshine), the UK's only male giant panda, has started to show signs that he is ready to mate, sparking hopes that Edinburgh Zoo could see some panda cubs in the future.