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Pandas debut at Scotland zoo

Dec. 16, 2011 at 5:30 PM

EDINBURGH, Scotland, Dec. 16 (UPI) -- The British public got its first view of a pair of pandas who recently arrived at the Edinburgh Zoo on a 10-year loan from China, zoo officials said.

Demand for tickets to see Tian Tian and Yang Guang, also known as Sweetie and Sunshine, has been so high that numbers were limited, Sky News reported.

On Friday 600 pre-booked visitors finally had their chance to see the pandas in their specially built enclosures.

"It's fantastic," visitor Denise Stronach, who came dressed in panda jacket, socks, shoes and panda ear muffs, said. "I've been waiting every day for this since I heard they were coming. I'm ecstatic, they're just amazing.

"I can't quite believe they're actually here," Stronach said. "It's just so brilliant they've come and that they are here at Edinburgh Zoo."

Keeping the pandas will cost the Edinburgh Zoo about $900,000 a year, but zoo officials said visitor numbers and panda merchandise sold in the gift shop will more than meet the costs.

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