Calgary Zoo will return two pandas to China due to shortage of bamboo
Calgary Zoo will send two giant pandas back to China. This is due to the fact that the zoo cannot get enough bamboo to feed the animals. The two giant pandas, Da Mao and Er Shun, arrived in Toronto six years ago in 2014, and were popular among the visitors. However, their days in Canada are now over.
In a statement, the Zoo confirmed they have struggled to import enough bamboo due to coronavirus pandemic. President and CEO Clément Lanthier said: “This is too much stress on my team and on the pandas. Can you imagine not having bamboo for a few days? The pandas are eating almost exclusively bamboo. I need fresh bamboo being delivered twice a week.”
The problem also comes from the pandas. Pandas like their bamboo: if they get a bamboo type they are not familiar with, they might pass eating for that day. “They don’t like the bamboo they get. They get fewer bamboo. The bamboo’s too dry”, said Lanthier. Lanthier stated therefore that this unpredictability means he cannot run the Zoo if the Zoo cannot feed the animals.
Pandas are majestic creatures, yet quite simplistic in their diet. Fresh bamboo makes up almost the entire diet of an adult panda, which can eat over 40 kilos of bamboo per day. Now the struggle is finding the bamboo, since the epidemic forced cancellation of freight and flies for supplies. It is extremely difficult to find viable alternatives in such a short time without risking hurting the animals.
China has been sending giant pandas abroad for years. The animal is the national and cultural symbol of Chinese culture. Beijing sends pandas out as a sign of friendship and international cooperation – an initiative known as ‘panda diplomacy’. Since giant pandas are among the rarest animals on Earth, it is a great experience for anybody to see one up close. Coordinated efforts to preserve the species have been successful. In 2016, panda’s status was upgraded from ‘endangered’ to ‘vulnerable’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Still, there is just only 1864 pandas living in the wild, according to the WWF, of which the panda is also the symbol.