Two giant pandas – the first in the UK for 17 years - arrive at Edinburgh Zoo after a non-stop flight from China aboard a special “FedEx Panda Express”. Edinburgh, UK. 4th December 2011
Giant pandas Tian Tian and Yang Guang arrived in Edinburgh in style on Sunday (December 4) at the start of their 10-year residence at Edinburgh Zoo.
Thousands of well-wishers greeted the Capital’s newest arrivals as they arrived at the Zoo, with a police escort guiding them on their short journey from Edinburgh Airport.
The pair had previously touched down safely courtesy of the FedEx Panda Express after their flight from Chengdu in China.
As they entered the grounds of the Zoo, the panda vans were greeted by cheering crowds and the worlds’ media before being safely transported to the sanctuary of their custom built enclosure.
Members of the public will be able to have their first glimpse of the giant pandas on December 16th, following a settling period which will see the new arrivals acclimatise to their new surroundings.
Dignitaries welcoming the VIPs (Very Important Pandas) included Nicola Sturgeon, Deputy First Minister of Scotland, Michael Moore MP, Secretary of State for Scotland, and QIN Gang, Chargé d’Affaires, People’s Republic of China.
FedEx Express donated its logistical services to transport the giant pandas from China to Scotland. The Pandas travelled onboard a FedEx Express Boeing 777 Freighter in custom Panda livery - known as the "FedEx Panda Express". The aircraft's long-range capability enabled the Pandas to fly non-stop to their new home in Edinburgh, ensuring that they spent the minimum possible amount of time in the air.
The pandas will stay in Scotland for an initial period of ten years, and it is hoped they will breed successfully in that time.
Scotland’s Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon welcomed the arrival of the pandas on behalf of the Scottish Government, as First Minister Alex Salmond is currently visiting China for talks on a range of business issues from investment to energy.