It is sad news that Tian Tian, the female panda at Edinburgh Zoo, is no longer expecting a cub.
But what can we learn from it? What does it teach us about zoos and panda conservation?
What is immediately obvious is that, like the staff at London Zoo who lost their tiger cub this week, the men and women who look after the pandas at Edinburgh are dedicated to their work.
Beyond that, the contribution of two pandas in captivity in Edinburgh, thousands of miles from their home, is at best uncertain. The zoo points out that it is involved in research - and that will certainly be one of the factors that will help save pandas; 90% of the fee the zoo pays to the Chinese Government also goes directly to conservation projects in the wild.
However, the long-term solution for pandas will not lie with zoos but at policy level with government. Only governments can affect, or slow, the environmental factors that are damaging the panda.
Had Tian Tian given birth, it would have been good news for Edinburgh Zoo and delighted thousands of visitors. But one cub, however cute, will make little or no difference to the real problem: the destruction of the panda's habitat back home.
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