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Pandas settling in well at zoo

Bosses at Edinburgh Zoo said the two giant pandas have been settling in to their new home "extremely well" following their arrival in the UK from China.

Tian Tian and Yang Guang were allowed to explore their outside enclosure after spending the first few days indoors acclimatising to their new surroundings.

The eight-year-old breeding pair touched down in Scotland on December 4 following a non-stop flight from China.

Tian Tian, the female whose name means "sweetie", and Yang Guang, meaning "sunlight", will spend the next 10 years at the zoo.

Alison MacLean, the zoo's team leader of giant pandas and carnivores, said: "They've settled in extremely well. We couldn't be more pleased with them. Basically from the moment the travelling crate was opened, the male made the house his home. He went straight for the bamboo and sat down and started eating.

"The female took a wee while longer. She decided to check out everywhere within the enclosure and settled down for a snooze before eating bamboo.

"This is the second day they've been out and they're now just checking things out and scent-marking."

Their arrival from Ya'an reserve in Chengdu, China, marks the end of a five-year effort to bring the animals to Scotland.

It is hoped that the pandas, the first to live in the UK for 17 years, will eventually give birth to cubs.

"It's the million-dollar question really, isn't it?" Ms MacLean said.

"They seem to get on extremely well together but we have to spend a bit of time and just make sure that the female is in season and receptive to the male. And then when she is, that's the point when we'll open the door. And after that, it's kind of down to them."

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