Dwindling B.C. bamboo supply leaves Calgary Zoo biologists worried about pandas

FILE – Giant panda Da Mao eats bamboo at the Toronto Zoo on Thursday, May 16, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan DenetteFILE – Giant panda Da Mao eats bamboo at the Toronto Zoo on Thursday, May 16, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
FILE – Panda Er Shun eats bamboo at the Panda House at the Chongqing Zoo in Chongqing, China on February 11, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian WyldFILE – Panda Er Shun eats bamboo at the Panda House at the Chongqing Zoo in Chongqing, China on February 11, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Da Mao, an adult male panda bear, sleeps as media photograph him at the Calgary Zoo during the opening of its giant panda habitat, Panda Passage, in Calgary, Alta., Monday, May 7, 2018.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntoshDa Mao, an adult male panda bear, sleeps as media photograph him at the Calgary Zoo during the opening of its giant panda habitat, Panda Passage, in Calgary, Alta., Monday, May 7, 2018.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Da Mao, an adult male panda bear, looks on as media photograph him at the Calgary Zoo during the opening of its giant panda habitat, Panda Passage, in Calgary, Alta., Monday, May 7, 2018.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntoshDa Mao, an adult male panda bear, looks on as media photograph him at the Calgary Zoo during the opening of its giant panda habitat, Panda Passage, in Calgary, Alta., Monday, May 7, 2018.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
FILE – Five-month-old panda cubs Jia Panpan and Jia Yueyue play in an enclosure at the Toronto Zoo, as they are exhibited to the media on Monday, March 7, 2016. The cubs were relocated to China in January 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris YoungFILE – Five-month-old panda cubs Jia Panpan and Jia Yueyue play in an enclosure at the Toronto Zoo, as they are exhibited to the media on Monday, March 7, 2016. The cubs were relocated to China in January 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

The Calgary Zoo is worried that two giant pandas whose return to China has been delayed for months will run out of food.

The zoo announced in May that its two giant pandas, Er Shun and Da Mao, were scheduled to be relocated back to China due to the country’s abundant supply of bamboo. In Canada, the zoo said the panda’s main food source has seen increased barriers to transportation.

The zoo currently sources its bamboo from B.C., but said on Wednesday (Aug. 5) that supply is expected to run out in September.

However, the zoo said China has not yet approved international travel permits for the two pandas due to changes to its import laws and quarantine facilities amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“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,” said Calgary Zoo president and CEO Dr. Clément Lanthier. “The continued delays in international permitting is putting the health and welfare of these two beautiful giant pandas in jeopardy.”

The two pandas initially arrive in Canada in 2014 as part of a 10-year deal with China. They spent the first five years at the Toronto Zoo, and then moved to Calgary in March 2018 with two cubs in tow. The cubs, Jia Panpan and Jia Yueyue, returned to China in January of this year.

READ MORE: Giant panda family makes its Calgary Zoo debut


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Calgary zooPandas

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said growing COVID-19 case numbers continue to be a concern in the province. (Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Alberta announces 1,077 new COVID-19 cases Thursday

There are currently 14,052 active cases in the province

File Photo
Sylvan Lake Town Council asks for a mask bylaw to be brought forward for consideration

The bylaw would require face coverings in all indoor Town-owned and operated facilities

The Sylvan Lake Food Bank with fully stocked shelves. File Photo
Sylvan Lake Food Bank to open for donations in lieu of Stuff-A-Bus

The annual stuff-a-bus event has been postponed until sometime in the new year

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said the 500 deaths from COVID-19 in the province are a tragic milestone. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Alberta hits ‘tragic milestone’ with more COVID-19 deaths

Province up to 500 COVID-19 deaths, adds 1,265 cases

Photo Submitted
Sylvan Lake Grade 2 students in Holiday Healing Campaign

Students in Nicole Eleniak’s class worked to share love and joy with other children this holiday

The corporate headquarters of Pfizer Canada are seen in Montreal, Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. The chief medical adviser at Health Canada says Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine could be approved in Canada next month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Health Canada expects first COVID-19 vaccine to be approved next month

Canada has a purchase deal to buy at least 20 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine,

People wear face masks as they pose next to a Christmas display in Montreal, Sunday, November 22, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
How to tell family their Christmas gathering is too risky and you’re not going

Dr. Hurst says it’s best to frame the conversation from a place of care, stressing safety precautions.

A sign instructs people to wear masks in downtown Calgary on Friday, Oct. 30, 2020. Pub and restaurant owners are trying to figure out how to comply with a stricter COVID-19 measure in Alberta that dictates only six people from the same household can sit at one table. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Brewpub owner pleased Alberta not closing sit-down dining as COVID-19 cases soar

Alberta’s caseload of COVID-19 infections has been growing for weeks

This undated photo issued by the University of Oxford shows of vial of coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, in Oxford, England. (University of Oxford/John Cairns via AP)
Canada can make vaccines, just not the ones leading the COVID-19 race

Canada has spent more than $1 billion to pre-order seven different developing COVID-19 vaccines

(File photo)
Alberta woman charged after allegedly hitting boy with watermelon at B.C. campsite

Police say a disagreement among friends at an Adams Lake campsite turned ugly

A pedestrian wears masks while out walking in front of the Alberta Legislature as the COVID-19 numbers spike in Edmonton on Tuesday November 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Doctor says Alberta restrictions not enough to reduceCOVID-19 strain on hospitals

Mithani notes people are still allowed to gather indoors at large places of worship and in bars,

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s inability to manufacture vaccines in-house will delay distribution: Trudeau

First doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in first few months of 2021, prime minister says

Most Read