Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team
Date: May 14, 2020 10:21 pm
Calgary Zoo has announced today that their team has made the heartbreaking decision to relocate their pair of giant pandas back to their native China. This decision has been reached as a result of the difficulties which they have faced in acquiring bamboo for the two pandas since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.
As President and CEO of Calgary Zoo Dr. Clément Lanthier said, “This was an incredibly difficult decision to make but the health and well-being of the animals we love and care for always comes first.”
“We believe the best and safest place for Er Shun and Da Mao to be during these challenging and unprecedented times is where bamboo is abundant and easy to access,” he continued.
The giant panda is a unique animal with bamboo accounting for 99% of their diet. Due to the low nutritional content of bamboo each adult panda requires 40kg of bamboo daily (Adult pandas weigh up to 125kg).
To provide the required bamboo for the pandas it had been flown in from China. As flight cancellations have gripped the world following the ongoing Covid-19 crisis a range of options were explored to get the required bamboo to Calgary.
After direct China to Calgary flights ended, WestJet had been assisting by flying the bamboo from Toronto to Calgary. Unfortunately once flights between China and Toronto ceased Calgary Zoo had attempted to source bamboo locally but misdirected shipments and poor quality have led to problems for many weeks.
With the threat of a second wave of Covid-19 leading to ongoing bamboo supply problems Calgary Zoo leaders concluded that the best option for the panda’s welfare was to return them home.
Lanthier explained, “Unfortunately, (the zoo team) are fighting against forces much greater than the Calgary Zoo. Even the Canadian government had to fly empty planes out of China”
The zoo’s pandas, Er Shun and Da Mao arrived in Calgary in 2018 following a 5 year stay at Toronto Zoo. They had been planned to remain in Calgary till 2022.
It is not possible for panda fans to farewell them at this time as the zoo remains closed.
Learn more about Calgary Zoo on their website – Calgary Zoo
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