Staff at Edinburgh Zoo have been warned not to wear hi-vis jackets around their two giant pandas – just in case it puts them off sex.
The Scottish zoo has implemented a ban on any potentially-distracting clothing because it could interrupt a romantic moment between Tian Tian (Sweetie) and Yang Guang (Sunshine).
The giant pandas are on loan from the Bifengxia Giant Panda Base in China until 2021, but they have yet to produce a cub.
Staff at Edinburgh Zoo have been banned from wearing hi-vis jackets around their giant pandas Tian Tian (pictured) and Yang Guang
The zoo has also forbidden the use of noisy leaf blowers near to the pair for fear of interrupting a romantic moment
Sweetie was artificially inseminated last year but failed to reach full term, while Sunshine has proven ‘unreceptive to natural mating.’
Edinburgh Zoo, which is the only in the UK to house giant pandas, has also forbidden the use of leaf blowers near the pair.
The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, which operates Edinburgh Zoo, told the Sunday Times: ‘Animals can be sensitive to noise, vibrations and anything visual which may be out of the ordinary, such as highvisibility clothing.’
Sweetie and Sunshine moved to the Scottish Zoo in 2011 on a 10-year loan from China.
The pair, who were the first to set foot in the UK for 17 years, come at a cost of £640,000 per year – and have yet to produce any cubs.
The giant pandas are on loan from the Bifengxia Giant Panda Base in China until 2021 (pictured, Yang Guang in 2013)
Sweetie successfully gave birth to twins Shen Wei and Bo Si just a year before the pair arrived at Edinburgh Zoo.
The zoo began artificially inseminating Sweetie in 2013, when she fell pregnant, but it is believed she reabsorbed the foetus late term.
A second and third insemination took place in the subsequent years – but again proved unsuccessful.
The move to reduce noise around the pandas comes after it was announced in March that Sweetie and Sunshine will not attempt to breed this year.
Zoo officials told the BBC they wanted to make ‘some enhancements to our giant panda enclosure’ before attempting future breeding.
An Edinburgh Zoo spokeswoman said: ‘We will not attempt to breed our giant pandas this year because we want to further assess the incredibly complex and unpredictable breeding process.
‘This pause, which is supported by our giant panda team and other key specialists, will allow us further time to consider the scientific data, our own experiences and those of colleagues around the world, including the latest thinking on giant panda accommodation.’
What are Giant Pandas? Six facts you need to know about the fascinating animals
Four-month-old baby giant panda Xiang Xiang is pictured getting a physical examination at Ueno Zoo in Tokyo on October 10, 2017
- There are around 1,600 Giant Pandas living in the wild nowadays and 300 in zoos and breeding centres around the world.
- It’s unsure how long Giant Pandas could live in the wild for. However the oldest zoo panda so far has reached 38 years old.
- A wild panda’s diet is 99 per cent bamboo. The remaining one per cent is often small rodents.
- Giant Pandas need to consume around 20 to 40 pounds of bamboo each day to get the nutrients they need.
- On all four legs, Giant Pandas stand at around three to four feet tall.
- Cubs do not open their eyes until they are six to eight weeks of age and are not mobile until three months old.