Prime Minister Harper looks back at giant panda Er Shun while speaking at the zoo in Chongqing Feb. 11, 2012.
Credits: REUTERS/Chris Wattie
Giant panda Er Shun, who’s expected to be part of a new exhibit at the Toronto Zoo next spring, was determined to be a female during a physical examination last month.
The panda, born in Chongqing Zoo on Aug. 10, 2007, had blood samples taken for gene and chromosome sexing and they were sent to Sichuan University and the Genetics Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
When zoo officials discovered Er Shun was female, the Chinese Government selected a healthy and age-appropriate male giant panda from Chengdu to replace Ji Li — a female panda they were going to send to Canada with Er Shun.
Da Mao, a five-year-old male, will be paired with Er Shun, also five years old, as a breeding couple.
China and Canada have a 10-year agreement in which the pandas will be loaned to the Toronto Zoo and later the Calgary Zoo. Canada will pay $1 million annually for the pandas.
This is only the second time two giant pandas will be coming to Canada. The first was in 1985 and they spent the summer in the Toronto Zoo.
In the wild, a giant panda’s diet is about 99% bamboo. The other 1% is grasses and occasionally small rodents.
While in Toronto, the giant pandas will be fed bamboo, leaf-eater biscuits, dog food, apples and vitamins.
The giant pandas will spend five years with the Toronto Zoo before leaving for Calgary in 2018.