Following recent media coverage, we would like to clarify the following in relation to funding for the new giant panda habitat at Edinburgh Zoo.
Our giant pandas were relocated due to construction work taking place at the former Corstorphine Hospital site nearby as they are particularly sensitive to noise and vibrations.
Before planning consent was granted, RZSS agreed with NHS, as the landowner, and ultimately, the Scottish Government, that the pandas needed to be relocated and that the costs to RZSS of reinstating their habitat elsewhere within the zoo would be met.
This is entirely normal practice where one landowner’s development would damage the interests of an adjoining landowner. Therefore, this should not be presented as Scottish Government funding. It was a normal commercial transaction which freed up a public asset to be sold.
When construction costs went over budget, RZSS also received a £500,000 loan from the Scottish Government to cover the additional costs incurred.