A spokesman for the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland which operates Edinburgh Zoo has confirmed that work has begun on the construction of a Dali Lama enclosure. The news follows the announcement in January that the Dalai Lama would be arriving in Scotland this summer, generating great excitement and phenomenal ticket sales.
"We are building the new enclosure on vacant land opposite our Giant Panda exhibit to create a new 'Tibetan Experience' attraction." The spokesman told a packed news conference. "Early indications are that this rare and relcusive creature could prove even more popular than its neighbours, Yang Guang and Tian Tian."
The Dalai Lama (scientific name Tenzin Gyatso) has been threatened by the destruction of its natural habitat in Tibet and is believed by some to be the last of its kind. However zoo bosses are hopeful that they can start a breeding programme and are even optimistic that they will eventually be able to reintroduce the species into the wild.
"The Dalai Lama has been in captivity previously and we are confident that it will settle in well in our state-of-the-art facility designed to recreate the hillside habitats of its homelands. The cost of the project will be offset be increased visitor numbers and sponsorship deals." The zoo spokesman explained. "We have already been approached by a toy manufacturer keen to supply us with cuddly toys of his Holiness to sell in our gift shops."