Times Colonist

Cal­gary pan­das head home due to bam­boo short­age

- Animals · Canada News · Good News · Zoo · Wildlife · Recreation · Calgary · Calgary Zoo · Beijing · North America · United States of America · Twitter · Lufthansa Airlines · Toronto · Lufthansa Cargo

CAL­GARY — The Cal­gary Zoo says two gi­ant pan­das headed home to China on Fri­day.

The zoo said in May that it would be send­ing the pair back early be­cause the COVID-19 pan­demic was mak­ing it dif­fi­cult to source bam­boo.

The plant makes up 99 per cent of the an­i­mals’ diet and the zoo has said it was an ex­pen­sive and all-con­sum­ing ef­fort to cob­ble to­gether sup­plies from across North Amer­ica.

The zoo said on Twit­ter it was a dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion to send the pan­das home three years ear­lier than planned.

It said it took months of hard work to se­cure in­ter­na­tional per­mits to get the pan­das home.

The zoo posted pho­tos of reams of pa­per­work needed for the jour­ney, the crates that were to carry the pan­das and the Lufthansa Cargo plane that was to take them to China.

The two adults, Er Shun and Da Mao, were on loan from China to Cana­dian zoos as part of a 10-year deal signed in 2012. They were to stay in Cal­gary un­til 2023.

Two cubs, Jia Pan­pan and Jia Yueyue, were born in Toronto in 2015. They were sent to China as planned in Jan­uary.

The price tag to have the pan­das in Cal­gary was around $30 mil­lion, in­clud­ing

$14.4 mil­lion for the Panda Pas­sage ex­hibit it­self. Ex­panded park­ing lots, wash­rooms and restau­rants were also re­quired to ac­com­mo­date an ex­pected in­flux of vis­i­tors.

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