Welcome home! UK's only giant pandas arrive at sanctuary in China after 5,000 mile journey from Edinburgh Zoo where they had been for 12 years

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Britain's only brace of elephantine pandas person been pictured successful their caller location astatine a sanctuary successful China aft a 5,000 mile journey.

Giant pandas Yang Guang (Sunshine) and Tian Tian (Sweetie) were successful Edinburgh Zoo for 12 years until they flew to China yesterday.

They were pictured sitting astatine a array enjoying a repast pinch 2 different pandas successful their caller location successful China. 

The pandas were a celebrated pull successful Edinburgh Zoo and they will beryllium sorely missed by regulars. 

The duo were boarded onto nan 1.45pm formation to Beijing yesterday alongside crates of leaves aft nan 10-year agreement, which was extended by 2 years, ended betwixt nan Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) and nan China Wildlife Conservation Association.

Giant pandas nan Guang (Sunshine) and Tian Tian (Sweetie) were successful Edinburgh Zoo for 12 years

The duo were boarded onto nan 1.45pm formation to Beijing yesterday alongside crates of leaves aft nan 10-year agreement

The UK's only elephantine pandas pictured sitting astir a array having a repast successful China's southwestern Chongqing municipality

Some Edinburgh Zoo fans were near heartbroken aft nan 'panda cameras' they had tuned into complete nan years showed thing but an quiet enclosure.

One personification posted a heart-wrenching image connected X, formerly Twitter, of a lone zookeeper cleaning nan Guang and Tian Tian's erstwhile home.

The wrote: 'Safe travels, sad seeing nan keepers connected panda cam cleanable nan enclosures of their bamboo bits for nan past clip this morning.

'Must beryllium very affectional for them, convey you for each nan difficult activity looking aft them.'

Head of trading astatine nan RZSS Lisa Robshaw said it was very unusual watching nan unrecorded watercourse connected BBC Breakfast and that she would miss nan web postulation 'almost arsenic overmuch arsenic nan pandas'.

Another said: 'Awww gonna miss these 2 and panda cam made maine happy watching them.'

While a 4th said: 'Was a large instrumentality of nan panda cams. Safe location Yuan Guang and Tian Tian.'

Giant panda nan Guang astatine Edinburgh Zoo earlier he near connected his 5,000 mile travel to his caller location successful China

People watch arsenic elephantine pandas nan Guang and Tian Tian are loaded connected to the  China Southern cargo plane

Others commented nether a station connected Edinburgh Zoo's Facebook page astir nan pandas' last time astatine nan zoo.

One societal media personification said what they would miss astir seeing them connected nan cameras.

They wrote: 'A sad time and person a safe and happy travel ,we will miss seeing you connected nan webcam eating your bamboo precocious astatine nighttime XXx'

Another had visited nan zoo to opportunity their past goodbyes and told really they had 'shed a tear' erstwhile they left.

Writing earlier nan pandas had departed, they said: 'Thank you truthful overmuch for having them nan past 12 years was truthful awesome to spot magestic Pandas successful nan soma and study truthful overmuch astir them,' they wrote. 

'Good luck to nan keepers tomorrow and up until they time off for China and champion of wishes for nan and Tian successful their caller location successful China, my hubby and I wish them agelong and happy lives.

'Thank you for awesome memories/pictures and footage to treasure.

'Will beryllium glued to nan cameras til they're switched off.'

The 13-hour formation had a Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) keeper and vet, a Chinese keeper and hose charismatic sat down nan aviator and co-pilot, while nan remainder of nan seats person been taken retired of nan specially chartered China Southern plane

Fans of nan 'panda cam' took to Facebook and X to show really overmuch they would miss watching nan pandas pinch 1 revealing really they had shed a tear aft visiting nan zoo this week to opportunity goodbye

Visitors said their goodbyes to nan mammals connected Thursday, pinch nan zoo past opening preparations for them to return to nan China Wildlife Conservation Association guidelines astatine Chengdu.

The base, founded successful 1987, is world-class investigation facility, conservation acquisition centre, and world acquisition tourism destination', winning nan Global 500 Roll of Honour for Environmental Achievement, nan UN's highest biology award, twice.

Covering much than 3 quadrate kilometers, nan guidelines has respective luxury panda 'villas' tucked into nan mountains and forests, allowing nan bears to unrecorded together successful nan region pinch countless trees, streams and bamboo plants, arsenic good arsenic much than 700 type of plants and animals.

Covering much than 3 quadrate kilometers, nan guidelines has respective luxury panda 'villas' tucked into nan mountains and forests, allowing nan bears to unrecorded together successful nan region pinch countless trees, streams and bamboo plants, arsenic good arsenic much than 700 type of plants and animals.

To return nan pandas to their caller home, Edinburgh Zoo's blacksmith Rab Clark has constructed 2 bespoke metallic crates complete pinch sliding padlock doors, pee trays and removable screens truthful nan keepers tin cheque connected them during nan formation to Sichuan.

The crates are 190cm long, 146cm precocious and 127cm wide, which nan bears person been getting utilized to successful nan past fewer weeks.

The China Wildlife Conservation Association guidelines astatine Chengdu, founded successful 1987, claims to beryllium a 'world-class investigation facility, conservation acquisition centre' 

The pandas person been successful quarantine since nan commencement of November and will besides walk clip successful quarantine erstwhile they get successful China to comply pinch animal wellness regulations.

The 2 bears person regular vet checks, including humor and faecal sampling, to guarantee they are patient and do not return immoderate illness into China. 

A low-loader transporter was hired to transportation nan pandas from nan zoo to Edinburgh Airport.

'Perhaps Tian Tian would not person swiped correct connected Tinder': How nan pandas grounded to mate contempt a decade of trying

Yang Guang and Tian Tian appeared a cleanable lucifer erstwhile they arrived successful Edinburgh from China successful 2011.

But for much than a decade nan brace person grounded to click and nutrient nan offspring that zoologists and vets desperately hoped for upon their presence successful Scotland.

Efforts for them to breed people didn't travel to fruition and since 2013, nan zoo has tried artificial fertilization immoderate 8 times.

The past effort was successful 2021, aft which nan elephantine panda breeding programme was stopped.

David Field, nan main executive of nan Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS), moreover joked that nan brace would person struggled to lucifer connected Tinder, saying that 'perhaps Tian Tian would not person swiped right', specified was their reluctance to beryllium together.

Experts opportunity is very difficult to show if a panda is pregnant arsenic foetuses thin not to create overmuch successful nan uterus.

A panda's abdomen has tons of analyzable parts and bowels filled pinch nutrient that whitethorn make it difficult for vets to spot what they are looking for.  

The pandas are usually precocious risers, truthful unit astatine nan zoo had been gradually bringing guardant their wake-up clip to get them utilized to earlier starts.

The nonstop clip was kept concealed to trim nan chance of disruption from crowds of well-wishers aliases protestation groups, arsenic galore consciousness nan zoo should ne'er person taken nan pandas successful nan first place.

The panda crates were loaded successful by fork assistance astatine guidelines 12 by Edinburgh Airport's terminal building.

The 13-hour formation will person a Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) keeper and vet, a Chinese keeper and hose charismatic sat down nan aviator and co-pilot, while nan remainder of nan seats person been taken retired of nan specially chartered China Southern plane.

The pandas will person wellness checks, nutrient and h2o during nan formation but nan humans connected committee will person to power up their ain meals successful nan on-board microwave because location will beryllium nary compartment crew.

Chief executive of nan Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, David Field, said it was 'hugely disappointing' not to beryllium greeted pinch a babe panda.

Speaking to nan Telegraph, Mr Field said: 'It's hugely disappointing. Baby pandas are conscionable beautiful. They are exquisite, they are endearing, they are glorious.

'They are 1 of nan astir awesome ambassadors for group falling backmost successful emotion pinch nature.

'I deliberation nan biggest disappointment has been for Tian Tian, because that maternal rhythm is really important for them arsenic portion of their earthy behavioural repertoire – everything from each nan hormonal cycles to nan nest building to rearing.

'Sometimes animals conscionable don't get on. Genetically they were apparently an highly bully lucifer but behaviourally, if it was Tinder, possibly Tian Tian wouldn't person swiped correct if she had nan choice.

'They are hugely emblematic, they are iconic for conservation and they make group grin pinch sheer abandonment.'

Edinburgh Zoo is group to beryllium replacing nan pandas pinch different 'exciting' species, which has not yet been revealed.