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Monday, December 12, 2011

The Scottish Tian Tian 

It's been seven years since I was a behavior watch volunteer at the zoo. I had to experience all the excitement surrounding the arrival (and departure) of 太山 — Tài Shān, fondly known as 黄油条 (buttersick) — over the fence as a regular visitor to the zoo instead of through the behavior watch camera lenses.

Despite not being there twice a month, I do pay attention when I see mentions of 美香 (Měi Xāng) and 添添 (Tiān Tiān). So imagine my surprise to get an email from Moray Firth Radio offering the chance to win a panda mask:
Celebrations are underway to welcome two very special giant pandas to Scotland... Tian Tian and Yang Guang or 'Sweetie' and 'Sunshine' are the first two giant pandas to live in the UK in 17 years. As part of the celebrations, we're looking for your ideas on what would make the ultimate Scottish welcome for Tian Tian and Yang Guang.
What‽ 添添 is going to leave D.C. to shack up with some other Ailuropoda melanoleuca?

Thankfully that turns out not to be the case. The Tian Tian who now calls Edinburgh her home (at least until 2021) is eight-year-old 甜甜 (Tián Tián) with a rising tone (2) instead of the level (1) tone in添添. Her partner is eight-year-old male 阳光 (Yáng Guāng). It does mean, however, that http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tian_Tian_(giant_panda) is going to need a disambiguation page soon.

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