No it’s not a typo, on Sunday we got to see Tian Tian and Yang Guang at Edinburgh Zoo.
You have to book a special ticket at the Zoo website to get a slot. It does not cost anymore than a normal Zoo entry (£13.95 adult £9.90 nipper), but they can be quite hard to get on busy weekends. Our slot was at 3pm and we had timed it perfectly as the male panda Yang Guang (Sunshine) had just woken up having heard the keepers getting his bamboo ready. Pandas strike me as a bit of an evolutionary oddity seeing that they eat a plant that is both very low in nutrient value and packed full of deady cyanide. They have to spend up to 18 hours asleep everyday just to digest it.
Needless to say about the first thing he did when he woke up was to have a massive poo followed by a handstand to rub his arse against the grill. Apparently this is scentmarking his territory and pandas are very territorial beasts.
We then moved outside to see Tian Tian (Sweetie), who was having a kip in her enclosure.
Now another evolutionary quirk about pandas is that the females only come into season for two days a year and when Tian Tian came into season earlier this year Yang Guang only cottoned on to what he was supposed to do by the time it was over. It’s hardly any wonder they are an endangered species!
When Tian Tian is not in season the animals have to be kept in separate enclosures because of their territorial needs. By the time we had finished taking pictures of the comatose Tian Tian, Yang Guang had moved into his external enclosure.
Where most of the time was spent hiding behind a tree noshing on bamboo.
It was a great day out and we were really lucky to see one of the pandas being active. The weather was brilliant unlike London where poor old Brenda had her parade rained on.