Monday, 24 August 2015

Panda-monium! (updated)

A break from travels in Europe to visit the Giant Pandas at Toronto Zoo.

Er Shun and Da Mao arrived on loan (an 8000 mile journey via FedEx MD-11F cargo plane) from China in 2013, and will be here in Toronto until 2018, when they are scheduled spend the next 5 years in the Calgary Zoo. But if a sweet little baby panda should arrive, those arrangements may change. Toronto Zookeepers are keeping their fingers crossed.

Er Shun - female Giant Panda. Born at the Chongquin Zoo on August 10 2007 and was raised by her mother. Her name means Double Smoothness.

Da Mao - male Giant Panda. Born on September 1 2008 at the Chengdu Research Base of Panda Breeding. His name means First of Mao.
Giant pandas diet is 99% bamboo, eating around 100lbs of bamboo a day, and at the zoo they are also offered biscuits, dog chow, apples and sometimes sugar cane or icicles as a treat. And something you've always wanted to know.... they poop about 40 times a day.

The fresh bamboo is shipped to Toronto by FedEx two or three times a week from the Memphis Zoo bamboo plantation.

Er Shun and Da Mao live in separate enclosures most of the time but they have met and investigated each other. Apparently Er Shun was more interested in making friends than Da Mao, who just wanted to go to sleep. Typical man! Giant Pandas only have one short reproductive cycle per year between March and May, and gestation is about 45 days. Newborn pandas are pink, no hair, and blind, and very tiny, weighing less than 200 grams. If twin babies are born, the mother only cares for one, so the keepers have to swap the babies between the nursery and the mother every couple of days.

It would be lovely to have a baby Giant Panda born here. I hope you have a naughty twinkle in your eye, Da Mao!

Update October 13 2015: Er Shun gave birth to TWO baby pandas this morning! Too early to congratulate Da Mao as Er Shun was artificially impregnated too..... 


  1. They are such lovable dear dear Animals! Such sweet pictures.

  2. I should probably go and see them sometime. Let's hope for a birth.

  3. How cute! No wonder they are popular. A pair of pandas came to Japan as a diplomatic gift from China like in the ancient time.


  4. Oooooh. Pandas are so very cute. And reluctant breeders I believe. I share your wishes for a naughty twinkle.
    And am wondering whether humans could be kept as 'regular' on a diet of bamboo...

  5. Interesting to see that they give them some meat. I believe that pandas are biologically carnivores, which explains why they need so much bamboo to stay alive. I wonder what a meat based diet would do for reproduction, whether it would increase the number of births...

  6. I do love the pandas! I saw them a couple of years ago. They sure do spend a lot of time eating bamboo. ;)

  7. Seen them in Washington and San Diego zoos. Super exciting to watch.

  8. Er Shun and Da Mao looks gorgeous!
    I never see pandas in person...
    You took great pictures!
    Good luck to the couple!

  9. They always look like big stuffed toys to me!

  10. HA! What a great post, Sham, full of twinkle and hope. Wouldn't it just be wonderful to herald a newborn (or two) and extend the stay of these two giants!

  11. My, that's a lot of work to get such a tiny baby. I hope they do produce an awesome Panda.
    Great photos of such fascinating animals.

  12. 100 pounds of bamboo! No wonder they poop so much, that's a lot of fiber!


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