Snowy welcome to Scotland’s capital

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EDINBURGH saw its first dusting of snow this winter on the day the pandas arrived in Scotland.

Temperatures were around 3C, when Yang Guang and Tian Tian landed after an 11-hour flight from Chengdu.

At the Panda Breeding Sanctuary, just outside the city of Chengdu in Sichuan, temperatures had been about 9C, although that can drop sharply at night.

But animal welfare experts at Edinburgh Zoo believe the pandas will adjust easily, being used to fog, rain and snow in their natural habitat.

Edinburgh Zoo website said: ”The climate is actually very similar to Scotland. The climate in the mountains is temperate with abundant rainfall and infrequent extremes of temperature.”

At Yang Guang and Tian Tian’s former home just outside Chengdu winters are long, wet and foggy, while in summer temperatures rise and the weather is warm and humid. There are similar changes in seasons at Wolong Panda Reserve three hours outside Chengdu and home to the largest group of giant pandas in the world.

Some panda experts believe the chillier weather may be just what pandas need to encourage them to mate. In Chiang Mai Zoo in Thailand, resident pandas Zuang Zuang and Lin Hui produced a cub after years of trying – only after a spell of unseasonally frosty weather.