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It sure beats bamboo: Pandas celebrate first Christmas at Edinburgh Zoo with extra helpings of cake


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-Thousands have already flocked to see Tian Tian and Yang Guang since they made their debut last week

By Kerry Mcqueeney

The taste of Christmas: Tian Tian tucks in to her special panda cake in her enclosure at Edinburgh Zoo

As much of the population reaches for the indigestion remedies after gorging on their Christmas dinner, it would seem they were not alone in the over-indulgence stakes today.

The UK's only pair of giant pandas celebrated their first Christmas in Scotland - by devouring extra helpings of panda cake.

Tian Tian and Yang Guang - or Sunshine and Sweetie - have been getting used to their new home in Edinburgh Zoo since arriving from China on December 4.

Extra helping: Tian Tian, one of the UK's only pair of giant pandas, celebrated her first Christmas in Scotland

Thousands have flocked to see the eight-year-olds since they went on display to the public for the first time last week.

On Christmas morning, zoo bosses dished out an extra portion of the special panda cake made from soya, corn, rice, egg and oil.

Yang Guang goes through 55kg of bamboo daily and Tian Tian around 30kg in total.
They get four deliveries of fresh bamboo every day while also munching on carrots and panda cake as part of their specially-tailored balanced diet.

I could get used to this: Tian Tian (pictured) and Yang Guang - or Sunshine and
Sweetie - have been settling to into their new home since arriving in Edinburgh on December 4

The zoo will be their home for the next 10 years and it is hoped that the breeding pair, the first pandas in the UK for 17 years, will produce cubs during their stay.

The animals' arrival from Ya'an reserve in Chengdu, China, is the result of five years of work to bring them to Scotland.

Edinburgh Zoo is now one of only 13 zoos in the world with pandas.

Sleeping it off: The panda looks exhausted after her Christmas feast

Taking it easy: Tian Tian stretches after gorging on her festive treats

Bear-obics: On second thought, some physical activity might aid digestion

The pair arrived from China in a 777 aircraft, nicknamed the 'FedEx Panda Express', transported in sepcially-designed crates with perspex sides.

Tian Tian and Yang Guang then made the 15-minute journey from the aiport to the zoo in a lorry.

Staff from the FedEx Express said the pandas' in-flight meals included bamboo, apples, carrots, mineral water - and a special panda cake.

Still peckish? Yang Guang starts on the bamboo after demolishing the panda cakes

Tourist attraction: Keeper Sharon Hatton stands in front of Yang Guang. Thousands have flocked to see the eight-year-old pandas since they made their debut last week

Chewing the fat: Yang Guang appears to be thinking thing over as he cleans his teeth with a bamboo shoot


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