Monday, March 25, 2013

2 Giant Pandas From China To Arrive In Canada; Will Spend Ten Years At Zoos In Toronto & Calgary

Foreign Relations

Female Panda, Er Shun: "Female giant pandas are only capable of reproducing once every other year from age 4 to age 20," the NatPost says.
Photo CreditAdrian Wyld/The Canadian Press
Source: NatPost

An article, by Canadian Press, in The National Post says China has loaned two giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca, lit. black and white cat-foot), which are bears, to Canada for ten years; they will spend their time equally at zoos in Toronto and Calgary. The pandas, from southwestern China, are named Er Shun and Da Mao.
A pair of giant pandas born and raised in China are about to receive a Canadian welcome worthy of their name. The Toronto Zoo will begin playing host to a male and female bear on Monday, just over a year after the cuddly creatures were officially loaned to Canada by the Chinese government.
Five-year-old Er Shun and her prospective mating partner, four-year-old Da Mao, will call Toronto home for five years before being relocated to the Calgary Zoo for the same length of time. Canadian and Chinese officials have voiced hopes the pair will add to the species’ sparse population during their sojourn. The animals are arriving in Canada in the sort of style not often experienced by even two-legged diplomats.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who personally announced the loan deal during a trip to China last year, will be on hand to greet the new arrivals as they disembark from a highly customized plane trip. A FedEx Express Canada MD11 aircraft branded with an image of a panda was to leave China on Sunday afternoon. The plane is to arrive in Toronto on Monday morning.
FedEx Express Canada President Lisa Lisson said the process of preparing the bears for travel began days before the flight. “We created very special customized enclosures for the two pandas and we actually sent them over there,” Lisson said. “They’re in the panda’s environment so they can go up to them and look at them and touch them . . . so when they go inside the enclosures they’ll be familiar with them.
Who could resist the giant pandas? Pandas spend most of their day eating and sleeping; up to 16 hours a day is devoted to eating, where an adult panda can go through 20 kilograms of the fibre; the rest of the time is devoted to sleeping and posing for visitors. And perhaps mating to produce offspring. Yet, the Toronto Zoo has said the public will have to wait, however, until May to view the pandas, Er Shun, a female, and Da Mao, a male.

You can read the rest of the article at [NatPost]