Edinburgh Celebrates Celebrity Pandas Anniversary, Hopes For A Baby In 2013

Category: Technology / Dec 04, 2012 1:55PM EDT
Visitor numbers at Edinburgh Zoo in Scotland have skyrocketed over the past 12 months, ever since they received a pair of pandas. The zoo is celebrating the first anniversary of the arrival of Tian Tian and Yang Guang from China. Edinburgh Zoo's director of research and conservation said the public has fallen in love with the animals. "Well last year, the full year, we probably saw 550,000 visitors. This year we think it's going to be just over the 800,000 so you can see the pandas have been hugely popular," he said. Tian Tian is female and her name means "sweetie", while the male Yang Guang means "sunshine." So far, however, the animals have not mated. "Fingers crossed that 2013 will be a different result for us," said Iain Valentine. "We learned a lot, about how to interchange the animals and a lot of expertise from different people around the world who fed into our understanding of these animals." It is extremely rare for pandas to breed in captivity. "It's great, it's such an opportunity to look after the only two pandas in the UK and even in the world they're quite rare in zoos," he said. "There's only about 30 pandas in zoos around the world so it's quite an opportunity to work with them here, I'm very lucky." The pandas are scheduled to stay at the zoo for another nine years.