Edinburgh pandas spend last day in the spotlight

EDINBURGH - Edinburgh Zoo visitors have been watching its giant pandas for the final time on Thursday before they are sent back to China. Tian Tian and Yang Guang arrived in Scotland to huge fanfare in 2011. But they are due to return in December under the terms of a 10-year loan, which was extended due to the pandemic. The first giant pandas to live in the UK for 17 years, they touched down in a plane dubbed the “FedEx Panda Express” on 4 December 2011. The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS), which runs the zoo, paid an annual fee of one million dollars (currently about £790,000) to China for the bears. But within 12 months the “panda effect” had boosted ticket sales by about 50%. In their time in Scotland, zoo staff and veterinarians from China made eight attempts at artificial insemination between the pair. However they failed to produce any cubs. The last attempt was in 2021, after which the giant panda breeding programme was stopped

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