A row has broken out between Edinburgh Zoo and the Panda Goodwill Association of Beiijing, after visiting delegates from the Chinese capital found that Tian Tian and Yuang Guang – the panda pair whose arrival has recently proven so popular with visitors – are suffering due to the unseasonably warm and sunny Scottish weather.
Days before they were due to enter into their ‘mating window’, panda experts from China revealed the pair were at risk from the wrong kind of heat.
“We gave these pandas to Edinburgh on the understanding it was a chilly and normally inclement place,” said Madam Xian Li, president of the Goodwill Association. “Tian Tian and Yuang Guang originate from Xinjiang Province, which has an average climate of 4C at this time of year. Our tests indicate that the pair are finding the recent temperatures in Edinburgh unbearable, and our advice is that they are shipped back to their home environment and swapped with bears more used to the warmer conditions.”
A spokesperson for the Zoo was adamant that the situation could be resolved without resorting to such drastic measures.
“We’re currently investigating the possibility of moving the panda enclosure further towards the top of Corstorphine Hill, where the temperatures are much cooler” he said. “Besides, we’ve found our animals can be remarkably adaptive – since moving to our African Plains enclosure in 1998 for instance, our zebras have grown a thick woolly coat similar to that of Highland cattle, and they seem perfectly happy.”
Discussions are still ongoing as to the future of Sweetie and the ironically-named Sunshine. We understand that a pair of pandas from the much warmer Guangxi Province in Southern China are currently being considered as more suitable candidates to be able to cope with the Edinburgh heatwave, which weather experts predict is set to continue well beyond April.