October 31, 2013
Category: Nature and Outdoor Activities
It’s pandamonium at the Toronto Zoo!
It was an exciting day for Torontonians on May 18th when the Zoo officially opened its giant panda exhibit, featuring VIPs (Very Important Pandas) Er Shun and Da Mao.
The two pandas are on loan from the Chinese government for a period of ten years, during which time it is hoped they will produce offspring. The pair will be splitting their stay in Canada between the Toronto Zoo and the Calgary Zoo, where they are set to relocate to in 2018.
Pandas have a tendency to draw crowds. In addition to being just plain adorable, their unusual eating and mating habits make them one of the most unique species in the animal kingdom.
Did You Know?
- Although pandas have the digestive system of a carnivore, up to 99% their diet consists of bamboo. Due to bamboo’s low nutritional value, a panda needs to consume between 10 and 15 kilograms (22 to 33 pounds) of it each day to get all of its nutrients.
- Pandas are notoriously reluctant to mate, which is one reason for their low population in the wild. Giant panda females are only receptive to mating for a period of 24 to 72 hours a year.
- It is almost impossible to tell if a giant panda is a male or a female until it is four years old. Because of the difficulty of determining the sex of pandas, it was believed that Er Shun was a male until genetic testing was done shortly before she was set to arrive in Toronto!
Top 5 Reasons to See the Pandas at the Toronto Zoo
No question about it, the giant panda exhibit is one of Toronto’s must-see attractions. Here are the top five reasons why you should pay Er Shun and Da Mao a visit:
- It’ll put a smile on your face. Pandas might just be the cutest animals around. Their docile nature, clumsy gait, and adorable black-and-white faces make them a delight to watch. It’s no wonder that one of the most popular videos on YouTube, with over 160 million views, is of a baby panda sneezing.
- You can expand your knowledge. Prior to meeting Er Shun and Da Mao, you can learn all about giant pandas at the 8,000 square-foot Panda Interpretive Centre. With model displays, multimedia games, and audio-visual presentations, it’s a fun and interactive way to learn about these natural treasures.
- Your kids will love it. Pandas are always a huge hit with children. You can also use this as an opportunity to educate them about wildlife and conservation.
- You can see other animals too. Once you’re done seeing the pandas, you can make your way over to the Zoo’s many other exhibits. The Toronto Zoo boasts over 5,000 animals representing more than 460 species, including white lions, gorillas, and polar bears.
- It’s a rare opportunity. Although panda conservation efforts have proven successful, they’re still an endangered species. The vast majority of pandas live in China, and only a handful of Zoos around the world have been given the opportunity to host them. The last time there were pandas at the Toronto Zoo was for three months in 1985!
Fun, friendly, and fascinating, the giant pandas are sure to brighten your day. Take a trip to the Toronto Zoo to see one of nature’s most extraordinary creatures up close and personal.
For more details: www.torontozoo.com
Location: Toronto Zoo — 361A Old Finch Avenue