Zoo deal set to bring giant pandas to city
The deal follows more than a year of talks between zoo chiefs and senior Chinese officials, and if it goes ahead would make Edinburgh one of only a handful of zoos outside south-east Asia to house the animals.
It is hoped that a breeding pair of giant pandas, aged two or three, will arrive at the zoo next spring, to coincide with the attraction's centenary.
The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) and Chinese government have signed a letter of intent to provide the attraction with the animals, it was reported today.
David Windmill, chief executive of the RZSS, said: "We have met many of those involved and I believe we stand a strong chance of bringing giant pandas to Edinburgh Zoo in 2009."
The animals, seen as the "biggest crowd-pullers on earth", are also considered to be very politically significant, with the Chinese government only loaning pandas to zoos if there is a good diplomatic relationship between the two countries involved.