Pandas who couldn't bear to make babies are sent back to China

A pair of pandas will be sent back to China after failing to produce any babies.

Yang Guang and Tian Tian have lived at Edinburgh Zoo home since 2011.

There were hopes they could produce panda cubs galore and boost the endangered species’ numbers.

But sparks didn’t fly, and experts have since admitted Tian Tian ‘wouldn’t have swiped right’ if a panda version of Tinder existed.

Both animals will be returned to China later this year.

Chief executive of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, David Field, told the Telegraph: ‘Baby pandas are just beautiful. They are exquisite, they are endearing, they are glorious.

‘They are one of the most fantastic ambassadors for people falling back in love with nature.

‘Sometimes animals just don’t get on. Genetically they were apparently an extremely good match but behaviourally, if it was Tinder, perhaps Tian Tian wouldn’t have swiped right if she had the choice.

‘They are hugely emblematic, they are iconic for conservation and they make people smile with sheer abandonment.’

Tian Tian and Yang Guang were leased from the Chinese government for a 10-year period at a reported annual cost of £600,000.

Both pandas were born in August 2003 and turned 19 years old in 2022.

Panda reproduction is infamously rare due to their complex physiology and the fact that ovulation only occurs once a year.

Tian Tian had given birth to twins in her home country but her first natural mating season in Edinburgh, in 2012, was unsuccessful.

A team of experts then artificially inseminated Tian Tian, which means ‘Sweetie’, eight times with sperm flown over from a panda in China – but these attempts also failed.

Matters were further complicated in 2018 when Yang Guang had to have both testicles removed following the discovery of tumours, ruling out any unexpected luck from their natural interest in each other.

While Giant Pandas may be waving farewell to Edinburgh Zoo – there are plenty other wild animals worth seeing.

There are two pairs of red pandas at the facility – Bruce and Ginger, and Kitty and Kevyn.

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