Yang Guang and Tian Tian, the pair of giant pandas, will remain at Edinburgh Zoo for another two years.
Yang Guang and Tian Tian arrived in Edinburgh in December 2011 as part of a 10-year arrangement between the wildlife conservation charity Royal Zoological Society of Scotland and the China Wildlife Conservation Association. The pair, the UK's only giant pandas, will now return to China at the end of 2023.
“Through co-operation with our partners in China, we have had many successes over the past ten years in terms of technique exchanges, scientific research and public engagement," said David Field, RZSS chief executive.
“We also hope that international travel restrictions will ease over the next two years, meaning our giant panda keepers will be able to travel with Yang Guang and Tian Tian to China and help them settle into their new homes. This will be ideal as they both have strong bonds with our panda team.”
The charity has confirmed that breeding will not be attempted during the final two years of the giant pandas being in Edinburgh.
“A cub would have generated even more interest in giant pandas and given Tian Tian a wonderful opportunity to be a mother again, after she gave birth in China.” said Field.
“However, natural and artificial insemination breeding attempts have not been successful and now is the time to move on and just enjoy having Yang Guang and Tian Tian with us for two more years."
Plans will be made to convert the giant panda habitat at the zoo for a new species to arrive.