Panda Playtime At Edinburgh Zoo!

Yang Guang plays with his special new panda toy! Photo courtesy of RZSS.

Fantastic footage has emerged of RZSS Edinburgh Zoo’s giant pandas having a ball with wonderful ‘enrichment’ gifts from one of the Zoo’s volunteers.

Tian Tian and Yang Guang love their new and colourful plastic bobbins, which were created in America as special bear toys and were bought for the giant pandas by a volunteer at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo – click here to watch the pandas having fun!

‘Enhances their physical and physiological well-being’

“As well as being great fun for visitors to watch, enrichment plays an important role in the lives of the animals at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo,” said Alison Maclean, Team Leader for Giant Pandas and Carnivores, who explained that the coloured drums contain a ball that makes a curious sound when the pandas roll them around. “Providing extra stimulation helps them to demonstrate natural, species-typical behaviour and enhances their physical and physiological well-being

“We were particularly delighted to see Tian Tian, the female giant panda, pulling her bobbin into her den, something she only does with things she really likes.”

Environmental, habitat, sensory, food and social enrichment

RZSS Edinburgh Zoo has a dedicated enrichment group that integrates five different types of enrichment into animals’ lives, including environmental, habitat, sensory, food and social enrichment. Anyone can donate animal friendly toys and enrichment materials to RZSS Edinburgh Zoo – many enrichment materials are common, everyday items such as clothes, newspapers and bed sheets, whilst others can be a bit more unusual, such as fire hoses and bungee cords.

The full list of enrichment items, and how to donate, can be found here. 

Meerkat Mischief

The pandas aren’t the only residents of Edinburgh Zoo to have been given new toys – click here to watch the Zoo’s meerkats having fun!

Throwing themselves enthusiastically in and out of their new coloured ball pit, this enrichment toy proved to be an instant hit with the meerkats. “Hidden within the meerkat’s ball pits are grubs that they forage for and problem solve to find,” said Alison Maclean of Edinburgh Zoo.