YEAR five and six pupils from Giffards Primary School are now the proud adopted parents of a panda.

The youngsters from the school in Queen Elizabeth Drive, Corringham, are the winners of the Be Smart adopt a wild panda competition through the World Wildlife Fund.

The idea was to focus the children on local wildlife as well as those, like the panda, around the world who are also endangered.

All the pupils needed to do was choose one species of British endangered animal and find out as much as possible about its life.

The school has been presented with an official adoption certificate from the WWF.

The judges were very impressed by entries from the school which looked at the plight of the red squirrel and the albatross.

Councillor Mike Revell, cabinet member for education, said: "I congratulate these young people on their work and the thoroughness of the research.

"We are lucky to enjoy so much open space in Thurrock so that our young people can experience local wildlife first hand."