Chief Executive’s Blog

October 18, 2013 § Leave a comment


After our announcement on Tuesday that we no longer believed Tian Tian was pregnant, we received quite a large number of emails and letters from members of the public offering understanding and support for not only Tian Tian but also her team of dedicated keepers who remotely monitored her around the clock for several weeks. Thank you to everyone for your kind words; Tian Tian is doing very well and the panda enclosure should be open to the public by the end of the week.

As mentioned in the last blog post, Tian Tian had consistently shown signs of pregnancy until recently, when her behaviour and hormone results returned to that of a panda that was no longer pregnant and the most likely outcome is that her body reabsorbed the foetus. If you haven’t yet seen it, Iain Valentine, Director of Giant Pandas for RZSS explains this in more detail on our YouTube Channel:

In other animal news, this Tuesday was Cindy the chimpanzee’s 48th birthday at Edinburgh Zoo and she celebrated with paper maché balloons and other treats from her keepers as enrichment. Out of the 18 residents at the Budongo Trail enclosure, Cindy is the oldest but not the highest ranking. In the chimpanzee social hierarchy, age is not the deciding factor for seniority. In our troupe, 21-year-old Qafzeh is our dominant male and 32-year-old Eva is our dominant female.

Spiny puddle frog - Cameroon

Spiny puddle frog – Cameroon

In an update from our conservation department, Tom Doherty-Bone the coordinator of the RZSS-supported project Conservation and Research of Amphibians in Africa recently visited our conservation department before his next trip out to Lake Oku in Cameroon. The Edinburgh Zoo shop donated a collection of stationary for Tom to take over to Cameroon to hand out to pupils in a local school where students have been receiving scholarships to attend. Tom will be working with local teachers to help improve teaching on biodiversity and environmental education as well as teaching methods for monitoring Lake Oku for amphibian species. This will all add to the long term sustainability of the project.

Also, the Scottish Beaver Trial has been listed in the top three of Britain’s Best Conservation Projects by BBC’s Countryfile Magazine. Started in 2009, the Scottish Beaver Trial was the first reintroduction project of its kind in Britain, with five beaver families released into Knapdale, Argyll. The beavers have been monitored by in-field research experts to find out what sort of ecological impact beavers could have if they returned to Scotland. The Trial is due to end in May next year.

Tulips_and_PierisFinally, a reminder that Simon Jones, our Curator of Plants and Head of Sustainability, will be holding a Gardens Talk next Thursday, 24th October. During the talk, Simon will discuss the wide ranging duties of his department, from enclosure design to caring for the thousands of plant species found in the gardens around the Zoo. He’ll also explain the important role of zoo horticulture and some of the exciting new projects his team are working on. Booking for this event is recommended. Tickets cost £5 for members and £7 for non-members. To reserve your place call 0131 314 0334 or e-mail This event will take place in the Education Centre between 7.30pm and 9pm.


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