Two giant pandas are due to arrive at Edinburgh zoo next Sunday after long negotiations with the Chinese government. Tian Tian and Yang Guang will be on a ten-year loan as part of an international breeding programme to save the endangered species from extinction. The last giant pandas to come to Britain, more than 20 years ago, failed to produce any offspring, so the authorities are hoping for better luck this time.
Here is my photo of the previous pair, Ching Ching and Chia Chia, at London Zoo in 1980. They were presented to former Prime Minister Edward Heath after a visit to China, in a friendship bid to ‘cool’ Cold War diplomatic relations.