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Edinburgh Zoo suspends panda breeding
Giant pandas Tian Tian and Yang Guang arrived in Edinburgh in 2011, having travelled from Chengdu in China.

Pause will allow experts to assess the breeding process 

Edinburgh Zoo has said it will not breed its giant pandas this year after five failed attempts to produce a cub.

The zoo said it will use the pause in its breeding programme to ‘further assess the incredibly complex and unpredictable breeding process’.

The time will also allow enhancements to be made to the panda enclosure, which would not have been possible during or between breeding seasons.

Together with key specialists, the giant panda team will consider the scientific data, their own experiences and those of international colleagues, in addition to the latest thinking on panda accommodation.

Giant pandas Tian Tian and Yang Guang arrived in Edinburgh in 2011, having travelled from Chengdu in China. They are the UK’s only giant pandas.

Tian Tian had previously given birth to twins in China but attempts to breed her in Edinburgh have failed thus far, despite hopeful signs on several occasions.

In a statement, the zoo said: ‘We very much hope Tian Tian has a cub in the future and will be thrilled if this happens.

‘Even without breeding success as yet, RZSS is playing a crucial role in safeguarding this magnificent species by helping fund conservation projects in China alongside international partners. These projects are critical, with fewer than two thousand giant pandas in the wild.’

Image © Edinburgh Zoo

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Sale of microbeads now banned

News Story 1
 The sale of products containing microbeads is now banned across England and Scotland, Defra has confirmed.

As part of government efforts to prevent these plastics ending up in the marine environment, retailers can no longer sell rinse-off cosmetics and personal care products containing microbeads. These tiny plastics were often added to products including face scrubs, soaps, toothpaste and shower gels.

Just a single shower is thought to send 100,000 of these beads down the drain and into the ocean, where it can cause serious harm to marine life. A ban on manufacturing products containing microbeads previously came into force in January this year. 

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George Eustice announces funding for Bovine Viral Diarrhoea

Farming minister George Eustice has announced a 5.7million funding package to help farmers tackle Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD).

The funding will be available in England for three years through the Rural Development Programme and farmers will be able to apply for one-to-one farm advisory visits by a veterinary practitioner.

The project will recruit local vets who will then work with keepers of breeding cattle to tackle BVD on their farms.