Friday, December 12, 2014

Edinburgh Zoo nominated for two Giant Panda Zoo Awards

Edinburgh Zoo nominated for two
Giant Panda Zoo Awards

Edinburgh Zoo’s giant panda Yang Guang and his keeper Michael Livingstone have both been nominated for top prizes at the third annual Giant Panda Zoo Awards, the Oscars of the panda world.

Yang Guang has been nominated in the cuddly, yet fierce and competitive, “Favourite Panda Outside of China” category and one of his keepers, Michael Livingstone, has been nominated for the “Panda Keeper of the Year” award.

Panda fans and experts from around the world are invited to vote for their favourites after nominees were announced this morning (12 December 2014). Voting has now opened and will close on 18 January 2015. The Gold, Bronze and Silver winners will be announced at an award ceremony on 23 January 2015.

Michael Livingstone, giant panda and carnivore keeper at Edinburgh Zoo, said:
“We are honoured to be nominated for two Giant Panda Zoo Awards this year. Not only do they highlight and reward organisations involved in panda conservation, but are a unique tool to educate the public on the issues faced by the giant panda and inspire people to discover what can be done to help.

“I was overwhelmed when I first found out that I had been nominated, and a little shocked as it was completely out of the blue! I’m definitely in good company as Yang Guang has also been nominated this year for the ‘Favourite Panda Outside of China’ award. We’ve had success in this category before as Yang Guang actually won the silver prize in the inaugural year of the awards, then the following yearour female panda Tian Tian won Gold!”

Michael, aged 26, has been a zoo keeper at Edinburgh Zoo since the summer of 2009. He started as a temporary hoofstock keeper, before landing a permanent role in the carnivore department. Michael has the honour of being one of the select group of dedicated panda keepers that have looked after Yang Guang and Tian Tian since they arrived at Edinburgh Zoo in December 2011.

Alongside the day-to-day care of the two pandas, Michael is involved in the panda breeding programme for which he regularly collects samples from both pandas and monitors their behaviour. In April, Michael was present at the artificial insemination of Tian Tian. Here he was on hand to help prepare the surgical room and assist with the dedicated care of both pandas. Michael continued to work round the clock during Tian Tian’s pregnancy as he collected crucial samples from her at various points of the day and throughout the night - these were used to track and monitor the stages of Tian Tian’s pregnancy. In the latter stages of pregnancy, Michael was one of the panda experts who took it in shifts to watch Tian Tian 24 hours a day through CCTV. In July this year, Michael also visited the Bifengxia panda base where he spent time with Chinese colleagues learning about pregnant pandas, pandas in labour and newborn cubs.

The Giant Panda Zoo Awards were created to promote panda conservation, education and research activities on website The site focuses on spreading the word about giant panda conservation and providing the latest news on the world’s panda population.

Visit to vote.

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