“It is a tremendous honour for Canada to be entrusted with two of China’s national treasures: the Giant Pandas Er Shun and Ji Li,” said the Prime Minister. “The pandas, which will delight Canadian children and adults alike, and be a boon to tourism in Toronto and Calgary, will be an enduring reminder of the deep friendship and goodwill that exists between our countries.”
The agreement between the Toronto and Calgary zoos and Chinese agencies, which was facilitated by the Government of Canada, will see two giant pandas come to the zoos for two concurrent 5-year periods. Included in the agreement is a commitment by each of these zoos to invest in research and conservation of the species.
It has been more than 20 years since giant pandas have walked on Canadian soil. Canada was home to giant pandas on three separate occasions during the 1980s when the Calgary, Toronto and Winnipeg zoos all hosted giant pandas for short-term stays.
Giant pandas are unique to China. They often serve as unofficial national mascots and are seen as symbols of peace, friendship and good fortune.
Er Shun and Ji Li are expected to arrive in Toronto early next year.