Chief Executive’s Blog
August 29, 2015 § Leave a comment
As you are probably aware, we announced this week that we believe Tian Tian, our female giant panda, is no longer pregnant. Based upon our scientific data, the window has now passed during which Tian Tian would have given birth. Whilst this is sad news, we have been able to make a number of key discoveries relating to giant panda pregnancies which we hope will add to the global understanding of this endangered species. We have also achieved the world’s most comprehensive hormone analysis of an individual female panda. The Panda Team at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo have worked tirelessly the past few months and they have truly done everything to support Tian Tian during her breeding season. We will use what we have learnt this year and hope that next year will prove more successful.
Over the past weekend, across the Atlantic, the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington celebrated the birth of twin panda cubs, but unfortunately the smaller of the two cubs did not survive. I commiserate with the National Zoo and send my condolences on the loss of the cub. No giant panda zoo works in isolation; we celebrate each other’s gains and empathise with each other’s losses as we all work together as part of the giant panda project to save this magnificent species from extinction.
I am also saddened to hear of the passing of John Ramsay this past weekend. John who was affectionately known as ‘JR’, was the RZSS sculptor and blacksmith, working with the Society for 30 years. JR’s intricate work can be found all across the Zoo, from the intricately decorated wrought iron gates, enclosure locking systems and metalwork on animal enclosures. His legacy certainly lives on at here at the Zoo and his one off sculptures of birds, animals and insects dotted distinctly around the site brings pleasure to visitors every day. The staff here were all fond of him and he will be missed. I send my sincere condolences to his wife and children.
And on a final note with some lighter news, I am writing my blog this week all the way from Sweden, where I am spending some time at a similar organisation to our own – Norden’s Ark – to take a look at some of their conservation programs. I am here to gain some valuable insights into their program but also to share my knowledge and expertise with them as part of a collaborative conservation effort. I have learnt a fair amount in my short time here and will look at how we can implement some of their ideas within RZSS so that we can grow even further as a conservation charity; saving species from extinction.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead