By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Er Shun and Da Mao arrive in Toronto for start of 10-year stay in Canada
Prime Minister Stephen Harper greeted a pair of giant pandas at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport today, marking the start of their much-anticipated 10-year stay in Canada.
Er Shun, a five-year-old female and Da Mao, a four-year-old male, arrived in Toronto from China aboard a FedEx flight that landed Monday morning.
For the next five years, the pandas will be at the Toronto Zoo, where it is hoped that Er Shun and Da Mao will be able to reproduce. They will spend the final half of their Canadian visit in Calgary.
The Toronto Zoo has not hosted giant pandas in almost three decades, the only prior occasion taking place over a few months in 1985.
Police helped control traffic as the furry visitors made their way to the zoo. And when the small convoy of four vehicles rolled into the zoo with Er Shun and Da Mao, staff and volunteers cheered their arrival.
The CBC’s Aaron Saltzman reported that Er Shun and Da Mao will undergo a 30-day quarantine and will then spend a few weeks out of the public eye before their exhibit opens.
Saltzman said the zoo has high hopes for the panda exhibit, which is expected to formally open in May.
“Zoo officials are telling us that they expect the pandas to bring in an additional 300,000 to 500,000 visitors,” Saltzman reported. (Source: CBC News)