Giant Panda Pair Back to China From Britain
Author: Xinhua 2023-12-06

Giant pandas Yang Guang and Tian Tian arrived in Chengdu on Tuesday morning, after wrapping up their stay in Britain.


The pair touched down at the Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport at about 6:50 a.m., before being sent to the Bifengxia giant panda base in Ya'an for a month-long quarantine.


Yang Guang and Tian Tian, literally meaning Sunshine and Sweetie, arrived at Edinburgh Zoo in December 2011 on a 10-year loan, which was subsequently extended for an additional two years. As the sole pandas in Britain, they garnered significant attention, attracting a record number of visitors to the zoo.


Yang Guang, one of the giant pandas at Edinburgh Zoo, eats bamboo stalks in his enclosure.

(Photo by Reuters)


They did not give birth to any cubs during their stay in Britain. There were several attempts to get Tian Tian pregnant but none of them were successful.


Royal Zoological Society Scotland (RZSS) chief executive David Field said it was a sad day for staff and visitors alike.


He said: "They were all feeling that emotion as they were literally waving them goodbye this morning.


"It's hard. These animals have been huge parts of their lives for the last 12 years."


"It's sad not just for our keepers, but our members, our visitors and all those people who have watched them on pandacam."


Tian Tian, one of the giant pandas at Edinburgh Zoo, eats bamboo stalks in her enclosure.

(Photo by Reuters)


Before their departure, Edinburgh Zoo conducted training sessions to acclimate the pair to the upcoming journey. The zoo had also prepared fresh bamboo for the pandas as food during the flight.


According to the National Forestry and Grassland Administration, Chinese pandas living in 23 institutions in 19 foreign countries are generally in good health condition, and international collaboration in this respect has been fruitful.


Source: Xinhua, BBC