Chief Executive’s blog

November 4, 2011 § 1 Comment


It’s been another exciting week at RZSS.  With the arrival of our Giant Pandas approaching, we’re delighted to announce they’ll receive a true Scottish welcome with a specially commissioned panda tartan.

Working closely with renowned designers Kinloch Anderson, the tartan has been approved by the Scottish Register of Tartans and reflects the huge cultural significance of Tian Tian and Yang Guang’s future arrival on Scottish shores.

Taking in elements of the Gillespie Tartan, in a nod to Thomas Gillespie who established the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland in 1909, the main colours of the tartan are black and white to represent the giant panda. Grey conveys the graduation of colour from black to white, as seen on a panda’s fur, and then green depicts the panda’s favourite food – bamboo. Red overchecks in blocks of three symbolise China, good luck and birth.

We also have some other new arrivals at Edinburgh Zoo – a group of four young Darwin’s rheas.  Only six months old, they are large, flightless birds from the Andean plans in Patagonia and Argentina.  Surprisingly bold, visitors have been really pleased to be greeted by the birds who come right up to the fence to get a closer look at passers-by.  And at nearly a metre tall, they’re quite an impressive sight.

Our Darwin's rheas are curious birds

Roughly two-thousand new residents have moved into our Brilliant Birds exhibit also.  A colony of leaf cutter ants is now on view in the reptile, amphibian and invertebrate area.  The fascinating little creatures are already marching back and forwards with pieces of leaves over a rope bridge, returning to their nest with a food supply.

Up at the Highland Wildlife Park, our Great Grey Owls that were off show have moved into their new enclosure today.  And the Park’s Halloween event was a success with 90 plus visitors enjoying a spooky tour of the park and themed puppet show.

Staff at the Highland Wildlife Park show their spooky spirit

Coming up on Wednesday 9th November, you can join lead animal presenter Sarah Wright who will share her experiences of the animals she works with, the vital role they play in engaging with visitors and how positive animal training takes place.  The talk also includes a live demonstration from our presentations team.  Visit Edinburgh Zoo’s events page for details.

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