Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Pandas Tian Tian and Yang Guang to arrive in July

Two giant pandas are due to arrive in Edinburgh in July, the BBC Scotland news website has learned.

It is understood that they will be brought from China on a special jet.

Discussions have been taking place between Edinburgh Airport and Chinese delegates over the travel plans for moving the bears to Edinburgh Zoo.

The zoo has previously moved to dismiss fears that the deal to bring the pandas to Edinburgh could be affected by the suspension of senior managers.

They include Iain Valentine, who had been instrumental in the zoo's efforts to bring the pandas to Scotland.

He was suspended last month amid investigations into what officials described as matters of a very serious nature.

It followed the suspension of the zoo's chief operating officer, Gary Wilson, in March.

It is understood the zoo's director of development, Anthony McReady, has left the organisation.

Both men had been helping to run the zoo while a separate inquiry continues into allegations against Mr Wilson.

Pandas Tian Tian and Yang Guang, who were both born in 2003, are being brought to Edinburgh under an historic agreement with China.

They will be the first giant pandas to live in the UK for 17 years.

The pandas will be housed at Edinburgh Zoo under the custodianship of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS).

An Edinburgh Zoo spokeswoman, said: "The date has absolutely not been confirmed for the arrival of the pandas, although it is true all parties plan to be prepared for the arrival from July onwards.

"Work on the enclosure and on plans for their arrival is well underway and on schedule."

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