An eagerly anticipated pair of giant pandas arrived in Edinburgh on Sunday on a charter flight from China, to become the first of the endangered animals to live in Britain for 17 years.
Yang Guang (Sunshine) and Tian Tian (Sweetie) were welcomed to Scotland to the sound of bagpipes as their “Panda Express” plane touched down at Edinburgh Airport.
The bears will spend 10 years on loan in the Scottish capital, a deal agreed after five years of high-level political and diplomatic negotiations.
Politicians are stressing their importance to relations between Britain and China, while Scotland is hoping for a tourism boost in austere times.
It is hoped the pandas will take advantage of a specially-built “tunnel of love” between their enclosures and breed new cubs that will help preserve the endangered species.
The bears were given an in-flight meal of bamboo, apples, carrots and a special “panda cake” on their journey from Chengdu in southwest China.
The duo were accompanied by two Chinese researchers who will help look after them until they adapt to their new life at Edinburgh Zoo.
The zoo is paying about $1 million (750,000 euros) a year to the Chinese authorities for the pandas.
As of December 16, visitors to the zoo will be able to look in on the outdoor enclosure, while Internet users can follow Yang Guang on hidden “panda-cams”.