Pilots are being asked to avoid flying over Edinburgh Zoo so as not to disturb animals during their breeding season, including giant panda Tian Tian.

A Notice To Airmen, or NoTam, has been published by the Civil Aviation Authority asking pilots to not to fly in the area if possible to reduce noise from low-flying planes and helicopters.

NoTams are usually issued to alert aircraft pilots to potential hazards along a flight route such as cranes, closed runways or large public events.

The zoo said the notice was put in place mainly to protect its breeding penguins but the likely pregnancy of Tian Tian was also a factor.

It comes during the Edinburgh Festival and Military Tattoo, which bring increased air traffic to the city.

A spokeswoman told The Herald newspaper: "Edinburgh Zoo has a NoTam in place over its airspace to prevent disturbance to all animals in the collection, yet it is mainly asked in consideration of the breeding penguin colony.

"It is particularly relevant at this time of year due to the regular increased activity of low-flying aircraft and hovering helicopters which occur as a result of the festival.

"We have been in contact with the Military Tattoo and the RAF for several years now and they have both always been very supportive and considerate of our requests."

Experts at Edinburgh Zoo have been monitoring the giant panda since she was artificially inseminated on April 13 and last week it was revealed that "the latest scientific data" suggest she is pregnant.

Zookeepers have said things are progressing as expected and that they are "keeping their fingers crossed" for the arrival of a third panda at the end of this month.

Tian Tian's hormone and protein levels are being checked regularly but it will not be known for certain if she is pregnant until she gives birth.

The panda was successfully inseminated last year but lost her cub at late term, something the zoo is wary of happening again.