Nicola Sturgeon personally intervened over a new £2million home for Scotland's pandas, demanding the welfare of the animals was a "priority".
The First Minister insisted on the new enclosure at Edinburgh Zoo over concerns the noise from a nearby construction site would harm the bears, a freedom of information request from The Sun revealed.
A civil servant’s email, contained in the documents, said: “The First Minister has noted it is extremely important a resolution is found that ensures the protection of the pandas.”
Another read: “The First Minister’s instruction that the welfare of the pandas should be the priority meant we had to find a solution which worked for the pandas so we either called off the sale or found a new home for the pandas.
READ MORE: Edinburgh Zoo’s giant panda Yang Guang shocked by electric fence at new enclosure
“Since the sale of the property was comfortably in excess of the cost of finding a new home for the pandas, the option to continue with the sale but find a new home was clearly the best solution.”
In July, Horrified families watched as one of the giant pandas got a shock from the electric fence in the new enclosure.
Both Yang Guang and female Tian Tian were moved to prevent any disturbance from the redevelopment of the former Corstorphine Hospital next to the zoo.
The new pen ran into controversy after it was reportedly built with a secret £2 million grant from the Scottish Government after zoo chiefs threatened to block a windfall for taxpayers.
Last night, Scottish Labour described Ms Sturgeon's intervention as "astonishing".
Claire Baker MSP told The Sun: "This was public money and the public have a right to know about how their taxes are being spent by the SNP.”