The whole of Scotland has been swept up in giant panda fever, and at The Gate, we’re no different. This week we’ve been at Edinburgh Zoo trying to film the elusive Sweetie and Sunshine for a new Scotsman ad, and it’s not been easy. Apart from the crowds and the jealous penguins, it would seem that the pandas are a wee bit camera shy. No matter how many times you say ‘Watch The Bamboo!’ they seem more interested in sleeping, eating, or hiding. Anything but posing for the paparazzi.
Also, we’ve discovered that pandas aren’t the cute fluffy teddy bears we imagined. Sweetie and Sunshine are kept in different enclosures not just because they need the space, but for fear of their safety. It seems unless they’re mating – which happens just once a year – the male will kill the female if they live together.
They’re also the divas of the animal world. Not only do they get through a staggering £70,000 worth of bamboo in a year (organic bamboo from Amsterdam, dahling) they have their own private pools and an entourage that would make Mariah Carey green with envy. They even have a ‘tunnel of love’, in case the urge takes them to make little pandas. It’s a hard life, eh?
But although they’re giving us the cold shoulder at the moment, we’re not giving up on Sweetie and Sunshine just yet. We’ve done some crazy shoots in the past and we’ve always delivered the goods. One more trip to the zoo and we should get the footage we need. In fact, we’ll get them to say ‘cheese’ if it means dressing up as giant pandas and doing it ourselves…