After months of paperwork, worry, and a shortage of bamboo, two pandas have finally arrived back home in China following their visit to the Calgary Zoo.
The two giant pandas had been on a 10-year loan to Canada from China, and after having spent five of those years at the Toronto Zoo, they were transported to the Calgary Zoo in 2019 to see out the rest of their visit.
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Unfortunately, the Calgary Zoo has been having difficulty transporting fresh bamboo in the face of the pandemic and made the difficult decision to send the pandas to the bamboo instead.
Even after that decision was made, however, there was still a months-long process to go through to secure international permits during a pandemic, but the team at the Calgary Zoo managed to send the pandas off on Friday, November 27.
A November 30 release from the zoo confirms that the pandas had arrived safely at home in China.
“We believe the best and safest place for Er Shun and Da Mao to be during these challenging and unprecedented times is at home in China, where bamboo is abundant and easy to access,” said Dr. Clément Lanthier, President and CEO of the Calgary Zoo, in the release.
“This was an incredibly difficult decision to make but the health and wellbeing of the animals we love and care for always come first.”
The release notes that the pandas first flew from Calgary to Frankfurt in a diverted Lufthansa cargo flight before making the trip to Chengdu, and eventually to the Chongquing Zoo — where Er Shun was born.