Picky Pandas Leave Calgary Zoo In Predicament

Anna Kroupina, Open Jaw

The Calgary Zoo is facing a bamboo shortage with no hopes of receiving regular deliveries due to flight schedule disruptions during the Corona pandemic.

That means Er Shun and Sa Mao are left wanting their favourite food. 

Pandas are picky eaters and rely on bamboo as their food staple. The Calgary Zoo said they typically eat about 40 kilograms of the plant each day. 

The duo was to call Canada home until 2023  as part of a 10-year agreement with China. They first arrived in Canada to much fanfare in 2014 and spent five years at the Toronto Zoo before moving to Calgary in 2018. But now the zoo has no choice but to send the pair back to China. 

The zoo said it tried to find new bamboo suppliers, but encountered logistical issues. The concern was new supply lines could be disrupted at a moment's notice, leaving the pandas completely without food.

"We believe the best and safest place for Er Shun and Da Mao to be during these challenging and unprecedented times is where bamboo is abundant and easy to access," the president and CEO of the Calgary Zoo, Dr. Clément Lanthier, said in a statement.

"This was an incredibly difficult decision to make but the health and well-being of the animals we love and care for always comes first.

Lanthier told CBC that the zoo began the process to move the pandas a few weeks ago and hopes to have permits approved this week, though he would like to see the process expedited.

That's what they get for being picky eaters!

Anna Kroupina

Anna Kroupina Journalist

Anna is OJ's newest member and she joins the team as a writer/reporter. She co-writes the daily news and covers events. Although she's new to the industry, pursuing a career path in travel/tourism has been a goal since her first family road trip to the Florida Keys sparked a desire to discover the world and this exhilarating, fast-paced industry.

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