Chief Executive’s Blog

January 23, 2012 § Leave a comment


This week marks the overlap of two significant cultural celebrations, one in the Chinese calendar and the other in the Scottish.  Today of course is the start of Chinese New Year and Wednesday will see Scotland celebrate Burns Night.

Based on this, it seemed appropriate to choose this week to hold a Burns Supper at Edinburgh Zoo for our patrons.  Hosted by our Chair Manus Fullerton, Counsul General Li Ruiyou of the Chinese Consulate is our guest of honour, Natascha Gentz, director of the Confucious Institute for Scotland and Deirdre Kinloch Anderson, director of Kinloch Anderson.

The evening will see the official registration of our panda tartan and renowned designers Kinloch Anderson will share the story of this special tartan to our guests.  As we speak Kinloch Anderson is busy creating an enormous table runner, made out of the very first ream of woven fabric, which will take pride of place across the centre of the dining table.

This weekend saw our own very popular Chinese New Year celebrations at Edinburgh Zoo, with a range of activities for all the family.  The Confucius Institute for Scotland offered Chinese language tasters and calligraphy taster classes, as well as bamboo drawings and Chinese book mark making for younger ones.  We were also delighted to welcome Hong Kong based children’s author Sarah Brennan.  Her book, The Tale of Pin Yin Panda, was launched in Scotland on Saturday.  Inspired by the real life arrival of Tian Tian and Yang Guang to Scotland, her tale features a foreword by Edinburgh Zoo and the official panda tartan.  The tale covers Chinese history and culture, but delivers it in an accessible and highly entertaining way.  Copies of Pin Yin Panda are on sale at Edinburgh Zoo priced at £6.99.

ImageWe are also excited to tell you that our pandas will feature on Blue Peter this week (Thursday 26th CBBC channel / Friday BBC 1 and BBC 1 HD).  Animal presenter Naomi Wilkinson made the journey to Edinburgh last week, on the coldest day of the year so far, to spend time with our panda keeper Alison Maclean and to meet our female Tian Tian.  Naomi went behind the scenes and pitched in to help clean Sweetie’s enclosure and to feed her bamboo, carrots and a little bit of panda cake!

There are also two new inhabitants in the Magic Forest at Edinburgh Zoo – Bruce and Aru the ground cuscus.  Predominately nocturnal marsupials that are most recognisable for their large eyes and ears, these two apparently enjoy a bit of sunbathing too.

ImageMeanwhile, at the Highland Wildlife Park our two new musk ox ladies are settling in well and should be going on display later this week.  Known to be a bit temperamental, so far our females have been nothing but well-behaved.  I don’t think they’ll stay that way though!

Best wishes,

Hugh Roberts

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