Edinburgh Zoo’s giant pandas, Yang Guang and Tian Tian, left the capital this morning (Monday 4 December) and were safely boarded on a flight to China after twelve years in Scotland.
A keeper and vet from the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) are traveling back to China with the pandas to make sure the pair settle into their new homes.
Michael Livingstone, senior animal keeper at RZSS who is traveling with the pandas, said, "It is an emotional day for us keepers that have been fortunate enough to care for Yang Guang and Tian Tian over the years.
“Working with this amazing species has been the highlight of my career and I will definitely miss them. I’m lucky enough to be travelling on the plane with them to China to help them settle in and I think it will be nice for them to hear a familiar voice as they get used to their new home."
Yang Guang and Tian Tian arrived in Scotland in December 2011 as part of a ten-year agreement between RZSS and the China Wildlife Conservation Association, which was later extended by two years.