Edinburgh Zoo to offer visitors the chance to feed giant pandas

Animal lovers are to be given the chance to feed Edinburgh Zoo’s giant pandas before they return to China this year.

Yang Guang and Tian Tian have been a big draw at the zoo since they arrived in December 2011 as part of a 10-year deal with Chinese wildlife authorities.

The return of the pair, whose names mean Sunshine and Sweetie, was delayed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Now, to celebrate their time at the zoo, the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) is launching a series of prize draws to win the chance to feed the pandas.

Pandas returning to China
People will have the chance to feed Yang Guang (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Every month from February until June, the RZSS will randomly select one winner to enjoy a “magic moment for two” with the endangered species.

A competition for a panda-themed grand prize will be announced over the summer.

The money raised from the prize draws is intended to help the RZSS reverse the decline of 50 other species by 2030.

Yang Guang and Tian Tian remained the property of China during their time in Scotland and are expected to leave in October.

Coronavirus – Mon Jun 29, 2020
The pandas were popular with visitors at the zoo (Jane Barlow/PA)

Hopes were high that the pair might breed while they were in Scotland but no offspring were produced.

David Field, RZSS chief executive, said: “We are delighted to give people a chance to win these unique experiences and raise vital funds for wildlife conservation in Scotland and around the world with our new monthly prize draws.

“Yang Guang and Tian Tian have helped to inspire millions of visitors to protect, value and love nature and we want to provide as many opportunities as possible for people to say goodbye and celebrate the incredible impact they have had.

“The support of RZSS members, patrons and adopters has been vital, especially in recent years, and we want to thank everyone who already booked an experience and is helping to protect wildlife across the globe.

“We are only able to offer an incredibly limited number of giant panda experiences before the pair return to China, so this really is a rare opportunity.”