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100 viewsTian Tian and Mei Xiang wanted to do something on 1st May to celebrate the arrival of spring, but neither of them fancied getting up at dawn to wash their faces in the May dew, as that would mean less sleep, or maypole dancing, as that would mean exerting themselves! They settled, instead, on being crowned King and Queen of the May and I think you’ll agree that they make a regal-looking pair!
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69 views23rd April is the anniversary of the birth and death of William Shakespeare. Having been spurned by Tian Tian, his prospective pandamour, Yang Guang, has decided to audition for the Royal Shakesbeare Company’s production of Hamlet to help him get over his despair. However, whether the world’s quite ready for such a black and white interpretation of the Beard of Avon’s tragic hero remains to be seen!
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65 viewsAs we wait anxiously to see if love is in the air for Edinburgh Zoo's Yang Guang and Tian Tian, another Tian Tian, on holiday from Washington, has decided to visit the Royal Yacht Britannia, now one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions. Launched by Her Majesty the Queen on 16th April 1953, for nearly 45 years, the vessel carried various members of the Royal Family to every corner of the world, travelling more than a million nautical miles in the process. The Queen described the floating royal residence as ‘the one place I can truly relax’ and the only time she has publically shed a tear was when she disembarked for the last time in December 1997 when the ship was decommissioned.
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On Mother's Day, With Love63 viewsThis year, Mother's Day was a very special one for the Smithsonian's National Zoo as their female panda, Mei Xiang, celebrated it with her seven-month old cub, Bao Bao. I was in Washington in February to see this newest addition to America's First Panda Family and, if anything, she's even cuter than she looks in this photo. I think you'll agree there's no better way to tell your mom you love her than with a rose and a great big kiss!
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Keep Fit Panda63 viewsAs Yang Guang was feeling a little out of shape, he decided to join a keep fit class. After only a few weeks, he can now do a very passable handstand which I hope will be good enough to impress Tian Tian!
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63 viewsOn 2nd June 1953, a day described by Winston Churchill as ‘happy and glorious’, Queen Elizabeth II was crowned in Westminster Abbey. Although meteorologists had forecast warm and sunny weather, the day dawned grey and wet, however nothing could dampen the spirits of the 30,000 people who had braved the elements by camping overnight in The Mall to stake their claim to the best vantage points. There was further cause for celebration that morning when the news broke that Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing had become the first men to conquer Mount Everest – the one Coronation gift that money couldn’t buy.
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61 viewsIt was on 22nd July 1913 that Edinburgh Zoo first opened its gates to the public. The zoo was the vision of Edinburgh lawyer Thomas Gillespie who had founded the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) four years earlier, its objective ‘to advance the study of zoology and foster and develop among people an interest in and knowledge of animal life’.

Edinburgh Zoo has come a very long way since the animal-loving lawyer had the vision of filling a park around a stately home with all kinds of exotic animals from every corner of the world. This year is an opportunity for us to look back at what has been achieved in the last hundred years and to look forward to what the future holds for the zoo in the next hundred. Happy birthday, Edinburgh Zoo!

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President Obama's Inauguration58 views
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58 viewsIt’s not just the people of Britain who are celebrating Andy Murray’s epic display of resilience, perseverance and determination to become the first British man to win the Wimbledon crown for 77 years, it seems that several Americans are celebrating, too. One of Andy’s greatest admirers is John McEnroe, the often controversial tennis player who, during his career, won seven Grand Slam singles titles - three at Wimbledon and four at the US Open. He predicts that Andy will win at least four more Grand Slams.

Washington’s pandas, Tian Tian and Mei Xiang, who became Andy fans after watching him win the US Open last September, are saluting his wonderful achievement with a spectacular firework display and, as you’ll see, have even managed to persuade President Obama to fly the Union Jack instead of the Stars and Stripes over the White House in Andy's honour!
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57 viewsYang Guang, Edinburgh Zoo’s gorgeous male panda, celebrates his 10th birthday on 14th August. He was born in Mongolia and, in March 2011, in preparation for his journey to Scotland, he joined Tian Tian (Edinburgh’s female panda) at the Bifengxia Panda Base, near the town of Ya’An, a beautiful part of China surrounded by mountains, rivers, green plants and colourful flowers.
Last year, Yang was given all sorts of treats for his birthday, including bamboo boxes flavoured with his favourite honey and a cake in the shape of a panda’s head.

However, while he immediately tucked into the bamboo with great relish, (after all, a panda can never have enough bamboo!), Yang wasn’t particularly interested in his birthday cake, made from healthy panda-friendly ingredients, (perhaps what he really wanted was a chocolate one with icing and candles!), though I’m quite sure that he eventually demolished it later in the day.

I'm really looking forward to finding out what surprises Yang Guang’s keepers have in store for his tenth birthday when Yang, and not Tian Tian, will be the centre of attention for a change.
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