The famous pair of giant pandas are returning to China from Edinburgh Zoo in December 2023.
As mentioned, people have been rushing to Edinburgh zoo for a last glimpse at this famous duo. The senior carnivore keeper at Edinburgh zoo said that the visitors have been coming in droves and he will be travelling with the bears next month back to China. They’ve been at Edinburgh zoo for 12 years.
As mentioned in the picture above, the zookeepers have trained them to open their mouths for dental inspections! I love that idea and I think that it would be very useful to do the same thing with domestic cats but no doubt they are harder to train than giant pandas.
I’m told that it took five years to negotiate the loan of these giant pandas. The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland worked with China Wildlife Conservation Association to negotiate the loan as part of conservation efforts.
By the 1980s, deforestation had seen the wild panda population fall as low as 1100 animals.
12 years ago relations between China and the UK were better and this appears to have underpinned the loan of the pandas to the UK and now relations have worsened and this appears to be one reason why they are going back. But the loan anyway was for a fixed period of 10 years which was extended by two years to accommodate the Covid-19 pandemic.
It is feared that with souring relations with China, there may be no giant pandas in the UK in the future. It might be the same for all other zoos in the West as relations with the West and China arguably have soured as well.
The National Zoo in Washington has applied for more bears as three on loan for 10 years had to return to China as well because the loan period had ended.
They’re going to be shipped back by air in crates which are 1.9 m long and 1.27 m wide. They are big enough, it is said, for the pandas to be comfortable and big enough for them to be able to build bamboo nests inside for the journey.