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Calgary Zoo Giant Pandas Return Safely to China

Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team

Date: December 1, 2020 10:45 pm

calgary zoo giant pandas

Er Shun the giant panda while living at the Calgary Zoo

Photo Credit: Calgary Zoo

The giant pandas from Calgary Zoo have returned to China. ‘Er Shun’ and ‘Da Mao’ were returned to their homeland after the zoo experienced difficulties in sourcing the bamboo which they need to survive.


“We believe the best and safest place for Er Shun and Da Mao to be during these challenging and unprecedented times is at home in China, where bamboo is abundant and easy to access”, said Dr. Clément Lanthier, President & CEO of the Calgary Zoo. “This was an incredibly difficult decision to make but the health and wellbeing of the animals we love and care for always comes first.”

calgary zoo giant pandas

Er Shun the giant panda while living at the Calgary Zoo

Photo Credit: Calgary Zoo

Er Shun and Da Mao travelled on a diverted Lufthansa cargo plane to Frankfurt and then continued on to Chengdu where they will live at Chongqing Zoo the birthplace of Da Mao.


The pandas had been residents of Canada since 2013 when they arrived in Toronto as part of a 10 year visit. They spent the first 5 years at Toronto Zoo before moving to Calgary in March 2018. They didn’t move to Calgary alone as while they lived in Toronto they produced two cubs. These cubs returned to China in January 2020 with the adults originally scheduled to call Canada home until 2023.

calgary zoo giant pandas

Er Shun the giant panda while living at the Calgary Zoo

Photo Credit: Calgary Zoo

Unfortunately the events of 2020 have provided a major challenge in sourcing bamboo which makes up 99% of a giant pandas diet. Unfortunately ongoing problems such as late and/or misdirected deliveries resulted in inedible bamboo for the giant pandas, and winter storms have the potential to only make things worse.


The Animal Care team has worked tirelessly to keep the bamboo supply going while international permits were arranged for the return of the pandas to China.

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Calgary Zoo expressed their thanks to the many partners who both assisted with bamboo supply over the last 9 months and those who made it possible for the pandas to call Canada home.


They also stated that the ‘partnership between the Calgary Zoo, the Toronto Zoo and the Chinese Association of Zoological Gardens has been incredibly successful in leveraging shared learnings and wild giant panda conservation.”

calgary zoo giant pandas

Er Shun the giant panda while living at the Calgary Zoo

Photo Credit: Calgary Zoo

Learn more about giant pandas Giant Panda Fact File | The Animal Facts


Learn more about Calgary Zoo on their website – Calgary Zoo

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