(This is the last installment of our Easter trip – strange to think we’ve been home for weeks now!)
I don’t know how you feel about zoos, but we enjoy going to Edinburgh Zoo. The animals are well-cared for, and now there is even a pair of pandas! (The money raised by the visitors to the pandas is helping fund improvements to their native environments.) On our way home from England at Easter, we stayed overnight at the hotel next door to the zoo. The hotel was very full, including with several busloads of Chinese tourists who were keen to see the pandas their country had lent ours. After a very enjoyable breakfast, we met up with Our Son [that seems to be his blog name!], and began our morning at the zoo. The zoo is on a hill. You can take a kind of bus up to the top and walk down, but as we had to be at the panda enclosure at 11 a.m. sharp, we decided just to go part of the way up. It was nice to have help pushing the Dafter in her wheelchair:
Here is a baby pygmy hippo [not rhino! see comment below] and its mother, both having a watery snooze:
I liked this wallaby taking advantage of the view out over to the Pentland Hills:
We were pleased to see the lions, who looked like larger versions of Tilly to us:
The leopard, though, was pacing back and forth in its enclosure. It was hard to get a good photograph, it was moving so quickly:
The tiger was munching on some greenery:
We arrived at the appointed time to see the pandas. A small group of us were ushered into this beautifully planted and decorated area:
We were lucky that one of the pandas, Tian Tian (“Sweetie”), was on view. She too was having a nap. Female pandas are only fertile one or two days a year. The previous week had been the propitious time for her, but she and Yang Guang (“Sunshine”) hadn’t mated. However, we were told that all the signs had been good, and the zoo is hopeful for next year. Sweetie has already been a mother, to twins, and she was a very good mother to them. Our guide explained that baby pandas are extremely small – he made the comparison to humans giving birth to babies the size of our thumb. (Might be more comfortable to give birth, I hear some of you thinking!) Panda mothers keep their babies in their armpits for the first few weeks, and have to mother them very intensively.
Here’s me with my two:
It’s quite something to think that Our Son came to us nearly 16 years ago now. He was almost four, and quite a lot bigger than my thumb at that point, but in need of some intensive parenting as well. We said goodbye to the dozing Tian Tian and went for a coffee. It was warm enough to be outside!
And the Dafter insists that I post this photo of us fooling around:
Well, I haven’t much pride! (Joke!)