Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Edinburgh pandas help zoo to turn around its fortunes

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Media captionThe Edinburgh Zoo pandas have proved a huge draw for visitors

The pandas at Edinburgh Zoo have helped it turn around its fortunes to record a £5m increase in turnover.

Financial results just released by the society which runs the zoo show income has increased by 53%, to almost £15m.

Since the pandas arrived 18 months ago they been a huge attraction for the zoo, proving a factor in helping reverse its financial decline.

That has helped it to a £1.5m surplus for 2012 compared with a £700,000 loss the previous year.

The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, which runs Edinburgh Zoo, reported a £14.9m turnover last year.

'Huge leap'

Admission to both the zoo and the Highland Wildlife Park near Newtonmore are both up substantially.

Image caption Artificial insemination was carried out on female panda Tian Tian last month at Edinburgh Zoo

Edinburgh Zoo's retail operations alone increased to £2.1m, with people spending more during their visit.

Artificial insemination was carried out on female panda Tian Tian last month.

Chris West, CEO of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS), said: "RZSS is delighted to announce our financial results for 2012.

"As a conservation charity receiving no public sector support, in the space of 12 months we have built it up from a £0.7m deficit to an operating surplus of £1.5m.

"Obviously a huge leap for us, we must acknowledge giant pandas as being part of the reason; however they are an integral part of the collection and not a stand-alone attraction.

"I must also stress that giant pandas are a conservation programme for RZSS."

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