Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Panda enclosure built with bullet-proof glass

Bullet-proof glass
Image caption Each bullet-proof panel weighs 500kg

Bullet-proof glass is being installed in the new panda enclosure at Edinburgh Zoo to provide the ultimate protection for its VIP guests.

Ten huge glass plates, each weighing a half tonne each, will provide a secure barrier between visitors and the 250lbs giant pandas, Tian Tian and Yang Guang.

The thick reinforced floor-to-ceiling glass forms a walkway for visitors to pass along the side of the cage.

The new enclosure has been designed to accommodate 600 spectators per hour.

The thick glass also means less noise from visitors for the pandas.

Each panda will have its own space because they are solitary animals in the wild and only come together to breed.

It comes as the final inspection by Chinese delegates of the panda enclosure has been set for October.

Hugh Roberts, chief executive, said: "This is an exciting stage in getting the connection between pandas and public put in place and a key element of the new enclosure which will, not only provide a serene environment for the bears, but an enhanced visitor experience.

"It's also an important milestone in progressing towards the visit in October by the Chinese Wildlife Conservation Association, when they will see it for themselves."

It is expected the pandas will arrive by the end of the year, as announced by Premier Wen on his recent UK visit.

Offspring hope

About £250,000 is being spent creating the home for the pair.

It will have pools, caves, climbing structures and even its own nursery.

The Chinese Wildlife Conservation Association (CWCA) will be making the inspection in October.

The CWCA seal of approval is a vital step in securing the dates for the pandas' arrival, which will be decided by the Chinese government.

Both pandas have successfully bred before and it is hoped they could produce further offspring.

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