On Sunday, Scotland hailed the arrival of two giant pandas from China that officials hope will not only bring attention to conservation but boost tourism numbers to the Land of Cakes.
Tian Tian and Yang Guang are the first giant pandas to live in the UK for 17 years. The UK's last giant panda, Ming Ming, left London Zoo to return to China on October 26, 1994.
The new pair will stay at the zoo for at least 10 years and it's hoped that they will eventually breed.
The giant pandas arrived in the UK aboard the Boeing 777F flight, the FedEx Panda Express.
The eight-year-old pair's arrival date had been kept a well-guarded secret until earlier this week and coincides with Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond's visit to China.
Four pilots with experience in transporting some of the world's most precious cargo were onboard to make sure the trip went without a hitch. The animals received an in-flight meal of bamboo, carrots, apples, and a special panda cake.
The two bears were born in 2003 and lived at the Ya'an reserve in Chengdu, China. Sunday's arrival marked the culmination of a five year effort to bring the giant pandas to Scotland.
Tian Tian meaning sweetie, and Yang Guang, meaning sunshine, will not go on display for another two weeks as they settle in to their new enclosure. However their arrival in Scottish soil has already created quite a buzz.
The giant pandas, which arrived in Scotland to the sound of bagpipes and cheers, are expected to attract thousands of tourists to Edinburgh.
The arrival of Tian Tian and Yang Guang is an historic occasion for Edinburgh Zoo, said Hugh Roberts, the zoo's chief executive. We have been looking forward to this moment for five years now, since the Zoo first embarked on this epic journey to bring giant pandas to Scotland. Our dedicated team has worked tirelessly to create a world-class enclosure to house our newest additions, which will offer visitors a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to view these extraordinary animals.
With the arrival of the giant pandas, the Zoo has further cemented its role in the future conservation of one of the world's most endangered species, Roberts added. This is the beginning of a long-term relationship which will drive a program of international research and education and will have massive benefit for the Zoo, Scotland and the UK.
The Scottish government and tourism officials are optimistic that the animals' presence can boost the economy and visitor numbers to the country. The zoo's visitor numbers are predicted to rise by 70% in 2012. The pandas have been so popular a draw that last week, the zoo's ticket website crashed due to a dramatic peak in demand.
A spokesman for the zoo said the pandas spent their first night sleeping off the effects of jet lag just like anyone else would after a long flight.
After having an initial nose around, they have settled into a pattern of sleeping for two hours, and eating bamboo for another two hours, which is normal behavior, Head of Animals Darren McGarry said on Edinburgh Zoo's Facebook page. Yang Guang in particular is scoffing our bamboo like there's no tomorrow - which his Chinese keepers assure us is no different to his usual large appetite.
During their time in Scotland, sweetie and sunshine will be in the care of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS).
The zoo will grow 15% of the bamboo needed to feed the hungry animals on the property. The rest will be imported from Amsterdam.
The pandas will be on show from December 17 onwards, and tickets are available via the zoo's website.
Footage of the two animals from four hidden panda-cams in their enclosures is expected to attract viewers from around the world.
Curious panda lovers can watch as the two new Scottish residents explore their home, which includes his and her pools, specially-shaped rocks to lie on, a climbing frame, and a special love tunnel that zoo officials hope they will use if they're feeling amorous.
Currently, conservationists estimate that only 1,600 pandas remain in the wild. Both Tian Tian and Yang Guang are part of global giant panda conservation programs, intended to increase the panda population.