Which two-toned animal is arriving in Toronto?
Monday, March 25 the Toronto Zoo welcomes its newest members, two giant pandas being flown in on the FedEx Panda Express.
After a short 30 day quarantine, the zoo plans to unveil the new habitat in a large celebration according to Maria Franke, curator of mammals at the zoo. A delegation from China will attend the festivities.
The pair of giant pandas, one male and one female, are part of a breeding exchange program. The zoo hopes to breed the pair and help educate the public on the endangered mammals, and what is being done to save the species.
As part of a long-term conservation partnership agreement between China and Canada, signed by Hu Jintao, President of China and Mr. Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, China will loan two giant pandas to two Canadian Zoos (Toronto and Calgary) for a ten year period. The good news is that Toronto Zoo will be home to the breeding pair for a minimum of five years, beginning in the spring of 2013. The pandas will then relocate to the Calgary Zoo sometime in 2018.
Da Mao, the male panda is coming to the Toronto Zoo from Chengdu and the female, Er Shun is on loan from Chongqing Zoo, China.
The zoo is remodeling the current Amur Tiger exhibit in preparation for the panda’s five year stay. The pair will call Toronto home until 2018 when they move on to Calgary.
According to the the Toronto Zoo, giant pandas live in a few mountain ranges in central China. They once lived in lowland areas, but farming, forest clearing, and other development now restrict giant pandas to the mountains. The giant panda is listed as endangered in the World Conservation Union's (IUCN's) Red List of Threatened Animals. There are about 1,600 left in the wild. Nearly 300 pandas live in zoos and breeding centers around the world, mostly in China.