Panda-monium as party planning gets underway

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EDINBURGH Zoo are planning panda parties next month as the famous bears celebrate their ninth birthdays.

Staff at the zoo are spoiling the pair with gifts including bamboo boxes, bamboo candles and a special hammock where the bears, who can sleep for up to 14 hours a day, can lie back and relax.

Zoo keepers on the day will be seeing to Tian Tian and Yang Guang’s every need as they begin to plan for the celebrations in August.

 

Yang Guang (pictured) and his mate Tian Tian will celebrate their first Scottish birthday this August

 
Tian Tian will reach nine first on 14 August with Yang Gaung celebrating ten days later.

The youngest of the pair is expected to receive masses of box-shaped presents made out of bamboo canes, wrapped in large leaves and covered in honey.

Tian Tian has a different surprise in the shape of a large cake made with honey water and bamboo shoots used to represent candles.

Bosses have hinted at further surprises including hammocks made from recycled fire hoses being installed into their enclosure.

The zoo’s education department will also be working with schools when they return for the new term as part of the celebrations, with these events closer to Tian Tian’s birthday

The zoo is also set to invite visitors to help the pandas celebrate their big day. However, exact details about the event is being kept securely under lock and key.

The zoo has already released giant panda viewing tickets for sale up to 30 November this year.

Since December, when the pandas went on display, 300,000 people have visited the bears in their new home.

Head of visitor services Laura Condie said: “Advance bookings have already started to come in for later in the year, with people keen to secure their spot to see Tian Tian and Yang Guang as soon as possible.

“As the pandas’ first birthdays in Scotland come closer, we’re really looking forward to making a big fuss of Tian Tian and Yang Guang.

“It’s always exciting to see the visitors’ reaction when they first catch a glimpse of our pandas.

With both pandas turning nine, staff at the zoo are now hoping to hear news of a baby panda in the near future.

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