Leaders: ‘Savings could ensure the Zoo’s survival’

Edinburgh Zoo is on high at the moment. The arrival 12 months ago of the giant pandas has enhanced their role as a conservation organisation while also bringing in at least £4 million in additional income, thanks to around 200,000 extra visitors to Corstorphine Hill.

The Zoo has also put recent staffing issues behind it and now has a new chief executive at the helm, Professor Chris West.

But the attraction has not had its troubles to seek in recent years and it is right, therefore, that it should continue to look ahead and to examine how it can map out a sustainable way forward.

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While the Zoo has a major conservation role, it must also balance its books and that means continuing to attract paid visitors through the gate.

A proposal to reduce its animal collection will, understandably, alarm many. But the wisdom of this can only be determined once we know the extent of the plans and which animals could be affected. There is no suggestion that the most popular – for example, penguins, pandas and tigers – would be in line for change.

However, savings could be made in some areas that would allow the Zoo to reinvest in others and to ensure it continues to remain healthy and vibrant.

The Zoo must now engage with its stakeholders, including the public, to determine the best way forward.

Creative thinking

Edinburgh is renowned as a city bursting with creativity, home to authors, artists, musicians and, of course, the world’s largest arts festival.

But take a trip 11 miles down the road and you’ll find a place building its own impressive cultural ­credentials.

Pathhead in Midlothian has been named the most creative small community in Scotland, winning with the title £50,000 to support its aim of becoming internationally ­renowned as a centre of musical ­excellence.

It is a fantastic achievement and an example of how such projects can really bring a community together. A choir, ceilidhs and a local drama group are also examples of initiatives that bring people from different walks of life together. It may forever be in the cultural shadow of the Capital, but this award really helps to put Pathhead on the creative map in this Year of Creative Scotland.