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Pandas are probably one of the very few creatures in the world that most people would agree give you that warm and fuzzy feeling in the pit of your stomach - or maybe that's just me! In December 2011, much publicity took place when a pair of these shy and elusive mammals arrived in Edinburgh Zoo, Tian Tian and Yang Guang. They now call Edinburgh Zoo home for the next 10 years.
They are currently being cared for by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland – who of course will provide first class service to the doted pair. You can even see them in live-streaming ‘action’ on a Panda Cam – I say ‘action’ as they are usually lazing around or huddled up in a corner munching away on bamboo.
In addition to having a few wee pandas in Edinburgh – France, Germany, Austria and Spain have also adopted pairs of pandas in support of the breeding programme.
The efforts of these countries have been to assist in the breeding and conservation of these endangered species. It has been reported that approximately only 250 are raised in captivity across the globe and an estimated 1500 or so are found in the wild in the surrounding areas of Sichuan Province, China.
Chengdu, Sichuan’s capital is home to the world’s largest Panda Breeding Sanctuary and Research Centre – welcoming over 100,000 visitors annually. The centres’ inhabitants has grown from a mere six in 1980 to 83 in 2007. Visitors are more than welcome to visit the sanctuary and learn more about conservation and the research that China has invested to keep the Panda legacy alive.
If you so wish to, you can donate approximately £120 to hold a panda cub and get your photo taken. Unfortunately, you won’t look very attractive as you are required to wear protective clothing which consists of a baby blue paper-ish gown, plastic gloves and shoe socks. But the good part is – you get to hold a panda!
I’m keeping my fingers crossed that our future generations will be able see how much effort and dedication our current generation has put in to take the panda from an ‘endangered’ to a ‘flourishing’ species.