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Edinburgh Zoo may have to return giant pandas to China
Yang Guang and Tian Tian cost about £1m a year to lease from China.

COVID-19 losses leave charity considering 'every potential saving'

Edinburgh Zoo's giant pandas may have to return to China next year as a result of the financial pressure that COVID-19 has placed on the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS).

It currently costs £1 million a year to lease the mating pair from the Chinese Government. RZSS is concerned that it may be unable to renew the deal at the end of the ten-year contract next year.

The zoo had to close for three months last summer, as did Highland Wildlife Park which is also run by RZSS. The financial impact of the reduction in visitor numbers amounted to a £2 million loss for the charity.

RZSS Chief executive David Field said: “We have to seriously consider every potential saving and this includes assessing our giant panda contract and the cost of their daily care.

“At this stage, it is too soon to say what the outcome will be. We will be discussing next steps with our colleagues in China over the coming months.”

The zoo was not eligible for the UK Government's zoo fund, as it was aimed at smaller zoos. But it has taken out a government loan, furloughed staff, made redundancies where necessary and launched a fundraising appeal in a bid to recover funds.

Mr Field added that the charity is incredibly grateful to its members and other animal lovers who have helped to keep the doors open.

He concluded: “Yang Guang and Tian Tian have made a tremendous impression on our visitors over the last nine years, helping millions of people connect to nature and inspiring them to take an interest in wildlife conservation.

“I would love for them to be able to stay for a few more years with us and that is certainly my current aim.”

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New series shares recipes for pet-safe festive treats

News Story 1
 Battersea has launched a new Christmas baking series across all it's social media channels, to teach owners how to make pet-safe treats for dogs and cats.

The two-part series will show dog owners how to make Christmas dog treats using xylitol-free peanut butter and banana. Meanwhile, cat owners will be taught how to use rolled oats and turkey to make a festive snack for their pet.

Battersea also reminds pet owners of the importance of insuring that animals maintain a healthy balanced diet and adds that these food items should only be given as a treat.

To view the series, please visit Battersea's YouTube, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram

Image (c) Battersea. 

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News Shorts
APHA confirms eighth case of highly pathogenic avian influenza in England

The Animal & Plant Health Agency (APHA) has identified an eighth case of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N8 in poultry in England.

Confirmed on Tuesday (15 December), the outbreak was found in captive birds and poultry at a premises near Willington, South Derbyshire. A 3km Protection Zone and a 10km Surveillance Zone have been placed around the infected premises to limit the risk of the disease spreading.

Further information about the outbreaks and the latest government advice can be found at gov.uk