Bamboo for Dinner

A new bamboo plantation that explains the story of Edinburgh pandas Tian Tian and Yang Guang’s favourite food has opened at Edinburgh Zoo. Next to the famous giant panda enclosure, a small working nursery is packed with 250 bamboo plants and contains five different species of tried and tested bamboo species that are Sunshine and Sweetie’s favourites.

Eventually the working nursery will feed the two giant pandas, although at the moment it represents only 1% of the pandas’ total bamboo supply each year! A larger show bamboo nursery will be developed onsite next year that makes a much greater contribution to pandas’s daily diets.

A beautiful feature in its own right, the garden explains the story of bamboo from its many uses, to how it grows. A shrine to bamboo, and also recycling, the garden even includes left over bamboo chips underfoot and a perimeter fence of bamboo poles that pandas Sweetie and Sunshine have discarded.

Simon Jones, gardens manager for the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, says, “This is a lovely wee nursery that converts an area of the Zoo into a place where people can get an idea of how much bamboo Giant Pandas consume, whilst being immersed with a feeling of seclusion from the rest of the Zoo.

“It represents the conclusion of the Panda experience as the visitor has been led through an area of Chinese plants, seeing our beautiful Giant Pandas up close, then culminating by walking through an area that shows their foodstuff, how it grows and a demonstration of the versatility of bamboo. It is a testament to the hard work of many individuals within the Zoo”

The picture shows Simon Jones putting the finishing touches to the green feature with his three year old daughter Eva. credit Katie Paton

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