Chief Executive’s blog

October 12, 2012 § Leave a comment

This week our giant pandas, Tian Tian and Yang Guang, were selected to receive an honorary Scottish Thistle Award for their services to Scottish tourism. It’s a wonderful accolade and RZSS were delighted to accept the award on behalf of this much-loved black and white duo. This moment was made even more special as the award was entirely bespoke and crafted from bamboo, which as we all know is their favourite foodstuff!

Speaking of the green stuff, we officially launched a new bamboo plantation at Edinburgh Zoo earlier this week. It’s all down to the hard work of the teams at the Zoo, who transformed a patch of land close by to the panda exhibit into a wonderful and engaging addition to the overall panda experience that everyone who flocks to see Tian Tian and Yang Guang can enjoy. Visitors are immersed into the green leafy plants that make up the majority of the pandas’ diets, amazingly the plantation that has been cultivated will, when mature, provide the pandas with around 1% of their annual bamboo supply.

Visitors have been feeling the lynx effect at Highland Wildlife Park lately. The four month old Northern lynx kittens have been starting to venture out of their den and explore their enclosure with mum and dad, Dimma and Switch. The proud parents arrived at the Park in February this year so it was great news when these feline kittens arrived shortly after, in May. Known for their large and pointy tufted ears that stand straight up and their short stubby tail, the youngsters can be often spotted practicing their pouncing when it comes to feeding time; at around 4pm, the daily feed, is often the best time to catch a glimpse of these incredible animals.

The RZSS education team have had another busy week. Some of the team have been in Dunblane giving a talk on the Scottish wildcat project, these cats are also known as Highland tigers and you can see these impressive animals at Highland Wildlife Park. I’m also pleased to inform you that Stephen Woollard, Education and Interpretation Manager at RZSS, has joined the board of the International Zoo Educators association (IZE) and will take on the role of IZE Journal Editor – a truly exciting endeavour.

Looking to the weekend now, it’s all about trees at Edinburgh Zoo. Running daily from 11am-3.30pm from the 13th-19th October, Tree-mendous Trees is bursting with great arts and crafts activities, visitors will be able to learn more about trees and their important role within our environment. Conservation is at the core of RZSS and this not only includes animals but also trees and plant life as well. Part of the event also includes a tree trail that will highlight some of the Zoo’s great trees, including several that are over 100 years old and even a Dawn Redwood – this particular tree is currently listed as critically endangered, with only several stands of them to be found growing naturally in the wild. You too could put roots down at Edinburgh Zoo by adopting a tree, making a great gift that will continue to grow for years and years to come. For more information and with many great species of tree to choose from please visit

Until next week,

Best, Chris


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