China to co-host panda gala

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By LI NA in Toronto re­nali@chi­nadai­lyusa.com

The Toronto Zoo, home to Canada’s only two gi­ant pan­das Da Mao and Er Shun, who are on a five-year con­ser­va­tion and breed­ing loan from China, an­nounced on Mon­day that it will co-host a gala fun draiser with the Chi­nese Con­sulate Gen­eral in Toronto.

The Moon Fes­ti­val Gala to be held on Sept 13 in the Gi­ant Panda Ex­pe­ri­ence park at the zoo is ex­pected to at­tract 300 guests and raise $100,000 for gi­ant panda re­search and con­ser­va­tion.

Ar­riv­ing in Toronto last spring, Da Mao and Er Shun came to Canada in the con­text of the fast-grow­ing bi­lat­eral re­la­tions be­tween China and Canada.

“The pan­das have brought the peo­ple of China and the peo­ple of Canada to­gether again,” said Fang Li, Con­sul Gen­eral of China in Toronto. “We con­tinue the cel­e­bra­tion of close cul­tural ties be­tween our two coun­tries sym­bol­ized by the pan­das.”

Joe Torz­sok, chair­man of the zoo board, said they are look­ing for­ward to co-host­ing the first Moon Fes­ti­val Gala. “We are also very priv­i­leged to have the sup­port of RBC Fi­nan­cial, Man­ulife and the Chi­nese Fu­jian En­ter­prise As­so­ci­a­tion as in­dus­try co-chairs, as well as Com­pass Canada as the re­cep­tion spon­sor and Pfaff as valet spon­sor,” Torz­sok said.

Zoo CEO John Tracogna said that as a part of the zoo’s up­com­ing 40th an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tion the Moon Fes­ti­val Gala was a good way to high­light the zoo’s long tra­di­tion of sav­ing and pro­tect­ing species at home and abroad.

“This event will not only help us raise funds for gi­ant panda con­ser­va­tion, it will also honor the friend­ship be­tween China and Canada by co-host­ing this in­au­gu­ral event with the con­sul gen­eral of China,” Tracogna said.

The zoo re­cently an­nounced that the fe­male of the pair, Er Shun, had been ar­ti­fi­cially in­sem­i­nated, but added that preg­nancy in gi­ant pan­das can­not be de­tected for months or more.

“We’re very hope­ful for the pos­si­bil­ity of breed­ing this en­dan­gered species,” Tracogna added.

Da Mao and Er Shun have re­port­edly boosted vis­i­tor at­ten­dance at the Toronto Zoo and zoo officials hope a po­ten­tial preg­nancy will boost it even fur­ther.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Guests pose at the press con­fer­ence of Moon Fes­ti­val Panda Gala 2014 at the Toronto Zoo on Mon­day.

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