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Live Panda-cam set-up in Edinburgh Zoo

Here at B+B Edinburgh, we find that many of our guests are keen to visit Edinburgh Zoo to visit the giant pandas. Even if you aren’t able to make it to Edinburgh, you know have a chance to watch the Pandas from a live webcam set up in their enclosure. The camera view switches from both the indoor and outdoor enclosure and follows the zoo’s two giant pandas Tian Tian and Yang Guang.

Giant pandas are an endangered species and Edinburgh Zoo hopes they will breed successfully during their 10 year loan from China. The cameras have been installed at this time as it’s mating season for the pandas. During this time Tian Tian and Yang Guang will be more active, displaying mating behaviours such as scent marking, and in Yang Guang, the male panda’s case, eating more bamboo and trying to impress his potential mate by doing headstands! The zoo has insisted that no funny business will be streamed on the web-cams, and the panda cameras are live and ready to view on the Edinburgh Zoo website.

The cameras and organisation of the camera set up were donated to Edinburgh Zoo by the company Indiago Vision. To test the sensitivity of the motion detecting cameras, two of the zoo staff dressed up in panda costumes and mimicked Tian Tian and Yang Guang’s movements within their enclosure. There is footage of the humans pretending to be the pandas on the Indigo Vision’s Youtube channel. Edinburgh Zoo has a track record for mixing animals and technology. The zoo is also home to ten chimpanzees who starred in the BBC Two documentary ‘The Chimpcam Project’ which recorded the footage created when the chimps were given camcorders to play with and use in their enclosure.

With a climate that matches the Sichuan Province in China, Edinburgh offers the perfect environment for its pandas. Most zoos have to artificially recreate the conditions for their panda enclosures, but the Edinburgh weather offers the right temperatures and humidity to grow lots of bamboo naturally.

If you want to see the pandas in person, it’s no extra cost to visit their enclosure but you have to pre-book tickets for certain time slots. Edinburgh Zoo is also home to sun bears, the smallest and rarest bears in the world. The Budongo Trail is home to the zoo’s 10 chimpanzees and is used to study the different behavioural patterns of the animals. The Budongo Trail also gives visitors a chance to meet the chimpanzees up close. There is another web-cam installed in the squirrel monkey’s enclosure, used to study and record interactions between the monkeys.

Edinburgh Zoo is great fun for both kids and grown-ups and entry to the Zoo starts at £15.50 for adults and £11 for children, although you can save by buying family discount tickets. Flights to Edinburgh from London are available from London City Airport and take just 80 minutes making Edinburgh a great choice for a UK city break. Aside from the pandas and chimpanzees at the zoo, there are other exciting attractions such as the Edinburgh Dungeons where live actors perform gory stories of Scotland’s past, Holyrood House – the official residence of the Queen, and Edinburgh Castle which sits in the city centre on a hill of volcanic rock.

Pandas make themselves at home at Edinburgh Zoo

Edinburgh recently gave a warm welcome to two very special new residents. Tian Tian and Yang Guang, the first giant pandas to live in the UK for 17 years will be calling Edinburgh Zoo home for the foreseeable future.

Since their arrival on the 4th December, the pair are said to be settling in well. The male, Yang Guang is the more outgoing of the two but both are easy-going and like to eat and sleep a lot. They will live in separate enclosures as pandas are solitary animals but when Tian Tian comes into season early next year, the pair will be introduced to each other in the hope that they will produce baby cubs.

Having been given 10 days to recover from their long journey before going on show to the public, the magnificent duo are now ready to be shown. The first 600 visitors have already pre-booked their tickets and will get a 30 minute slot to enjoy the special occasion. Already the zoo has seen a 200% rise on usual numbers for this time of year.

These figures are much welcomed as Tian Tian and Yang Guang haven’t come cheap. On top of the £250,000 spent on the enclosures and the annual £600,000 cost of loaning the bears, they will get through 30 kilos of bamboo every day which equates to £70,000 a year.

It appears as though the zoo has nothing to worry about though as everyone is keen to catch a glimpse of the rare and intriguing bears. It is predicted that visitor numbers will double in the first year which is not only great news for the zoo, but Edinburgh as a whole as this will undoubtedly increase tourism and boost the Scottish economy.