It has been tough work, but the Calgary Zoo is keeping their two remaining pandas fed.
The pandemic caused chaos when it effectively shut down businesses and travel, and though a lot has reopened, the virus continues to cause logistical nightmares for many — including two pandas, Er Shun and Da Mao.
- See also:
Both animals are on loan from China, and spent five years in Toronto between 2014 and 2019 before flying to Calgary for another expected five-year stay.
That visit was cut short by the global pandemic, as the zoo announced in May its plans to fly both pandas back to China so that they have easier access to bamboo — which accounts for 99% of their diet — as the Calgary Zoo’s source of bamboo was impacted by ongoing transportation barriers.
A new update on September 25 announced that the zoo “is sourcing fresh bamboo for them from a variety of suppliers across North America, in anticipation of our Canadian bamboo supply being depleted later this month.”
“While not ideal because this effort is an all-consuming, expensive process, the Calgary Zoo is committed to doing anything and everything we need to to ensure the health and well-being of our cherished giant pandas.”
A previous update from the zoo on August 5, stated that the two pandas have not yet been able to fly back home due to difficulty in securing international travel permits.
When direct flights between Calgary and China were first cancelled, the zoo began routing the food through Toronto. However, fewer flights between China and Toronto removed that option, leaving the zoo to find other suppliers.
With Er Shun and Da Mao stuck in Canada for the time being, the Calgary Zoo is worried about their dwindling bamboo supply, as both pandas eat around 40 kg of the stuff every day.
In August, the zoo had found a supplier out of BC, though that supply is expected to run out in September due to reduced daylight.
The Zoo also noted in the release that the pandas’ international permit approvals are underway and that they hope to fly the animals home soon.