Canada aims to dou­ble its pan­das

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By RENA LI in Toronto re­nali@chi­nadai­

With the ex­cit­ing an­nounce­ment by the Toronto Zoo of gi­ant panda Er-Shun’s preg­nancy on Sept 30, the prime min­is­ter’s of­fice made the com­mit­ment that a re-elected Con­ser­va­tive gov­ern­ment would set a tar­get of dou­bling Canada’s gi­ant panda pop­u­la­tion by 2016.

For the first time in more than 20 years, Canada is once again home to gi­ant pan­das. The two pan­das — fe­male Er Shun and male Da Mao — will be in Canada for the next eight years and are split­ting their time be­tween the zoos of Toronto and Cal­gary.

“I was thrilled to welcome Da Mao and Er Shun to Canada in March 2013,” said Prime Min­is­ter Stephen Harper. “Dou­bling Canada’s panda pop­u­la­tion is an am­bi­tious goal, but with the hope­ful ar­rival of two new baby pan­das, Cana­di­ans will have the op­por­tu­nity for even more panda sight­ings in both Toronto and Cal­gary.”

The prime min­is­ter also noted that his low-tax, bal­anced-bud­get plan to pro­tect Canada’s econ­omy would en­sure a con­sis­tent sup­ply of bam­boo and other treats for Er-Shun and Da Mao.

Toronto Zoo staff con­firmed the find­ing that Er Shun, a gi­ant fe­male panda on loan from China, is preg­nant and ex­pect­ing twins, af­ter weeks of painstak­ing ul­tra­sounds that even­tu­ally un­cov­ered heart­beats. Of­fi­cials say the next three or four weeks are crit­i­cal in the preg­nancy and ev­ery­one is cau­tiously hope­ful.

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