New zoo pandas 'settling in well' but 'jet lagged'

Dec 06, 2011, 09:20 IST | Agencies

Two giant pandas are settling in "very well" in their new home at Edinburgh Zoo but are "jet lagged", officials have confirmed.

Tian Tian and Yang Guang, who arrived from China on Sunday by specially-chartered jet, are the first giant pandas to live in the UK for 17 years.

They have been sleeping and eating in a two-hour sequence in a bid to recover from their long journey.
They go on public display from Friday, December 16.

Star attraction: Yang Guang settles into his new home at Edinburgh
Zoo. pic/getty images

First Minister Alex Salmond has met Chinese vice-premier Li Keqiang in China to discuss further business links, and has personally thanked him for sending the pandas Tian Tian and Yang Guang.

Gary Wilson, Edinburgh Zoo's director of business operations, said, "They are getting on very well. We were really surprised how well they settled into their enclosure. They are obviously quite jet lagged. They are in a strange sequence of sleeping for two hours and eating for two hours, a bit like most humans when they fly half way around the world."

He added, "They are very active within the internal area, they are walking around, they are doing a lot of eating of bamboo, scenting the area and getting familiarised, just like when you have a new home yourself."

The animals, who were given an in-flight meal of bamboo, apples, carrots and a special 'panda cake', were greeted at the airport by a large media presence, including foreign journalists.

Their arrival marks the culmination of a five-year effort to bring the giant pandas to Scotland.

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