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.|
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.....