Last chance to see UK's only giant pandas at Edinburgh Zoo before they return to China

Yang Guang and Tian Tian have been wowing crowds in the UK for the past 12 years, but now it's time for the Giant Pandas to return home to China, as ITV News Scotland Reporter Louise Scott explains

Visitors have two weeks to see the UK's only giant pandas at Edinburgh Zoo before they are returned to China.

Access to giant pandas Yang Guang and Tian Tian will be restricted from November 30 by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) and the pair’s enclosure closed off as zoo officials prepare to ship them back to China in early December.

Giant panda Tian Tian will be heading back to China in two weeks. Credit: RZSS

Yang Guang and Tian Tian arrived in Scotland in December 2011 as part of a 10-year agreement between RZSS and the China Wildlife Conservation Association, which was later extended by two years.

Giant pandas generally live between 15 and 20 years.

Despite efforts to breed the two pandas, female Tian Tian, whose name means Sweetie, has not produced a cub during her time with Yang Guang (Sunshine) in Edinburgh.

Tian Tian and Yang Guang are the only two giant pandas in the UK, and come December they will be headed back to China. Credit: RZSS

David Field, RZSS Chief Executive, said, “With more than a million species at risk of extinction and our natural world in crisis, Yang Guang and Tian Tian have had an incredible impact by inspiring millions of people to care about nature.

“That added interest in the pandas’ departure this year has allowed us to connect many more people with the conservation causes that RZSS is actively involved with, and with nature more generally.

“Through scientific research by our expert veterinary and keeper teams, working alongside the University of Edinburgh, we have made a significant contribution to our understanding around giant panda fertility, husbandry, and veterinary care – which has been of real benefit to efforts to protect this amazing species in China.

“It is encouraging that in recent years the outlook for giant pandas in the wild has improved, which gives real hope for the future.”

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