The Calgary Zoo will be returning two giant pandas on loan from China because a scarcity of flights due to COVID-19 has caused problems with getting enough bamboo to feed them. Er Shun and Da Mao arrived in Canada in 2014 as part of a 10-year agreement between Canada and China. After spending five years at the Toronto Zoo, the two adult giant pandas arrived at the Calgary Zoo in March 2018 with cubs Jia Panpan and Jia Yueyue.
The zoo’s president, Clement Lanthier, said last week the facility spent months trying to overcome transportation barriers in acquiring fresh bamboo and decided it’s best for the animals to be in China, where their main food source is abundant.
“It’s about the animals. At the end of the day, we cannot pretend that we care for animals if we don’t take those tough decisions,” Lanthier said. “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.”
Photo: Reuters 照片：路透
Lanthier said the zoo had contingency plans for a steady supply of fresh bamboo, but limits on flights from China was the first problem. Transporting more from California added even more frustrations.
“Every week, every 10 days there is more and more problem moving bamboo to Calgary. This risk is unacceptable. We don’t feel comfortable at all that we can impose that risk on the health and the welfare of the pandas.” According to Lanthier, the animals didn’t like some kinds of bamboo and other supplies that arrived were past their expiry point.
Giant pandas have unique nutritional requirements and 99 percent of their diet is made up of fresh bamboo. Each adult consumes about 40kg daily. Lanthier said the news came as a bit of a shock to the Chinese government. In other locations where pandas are exhibited — such as France, Spain and parts of Asia — bamboo can be grown locally.
Photo: Reuters 照片：路透
He said the pandas had been one of the biggest draws at the Calgary Zoo, but the decision wasn’t one about business.
“It’s based on animal welfare. I cannot imagine if one day, two days, three days in a row I am unable to provide the bamboo. That would be catastrophic.” There’s no date for when the pandas will return home. Lanthier doesn’t want the Canadian and Chinese governments to delay things. “We need the federal government and the Chinese government to expedite the permit process, so we can move them back to where this risk of not getting their next meal will be managed differently,” he said.
Photo: Reuters 照片：路透
Photo courtesy of calgary zoo via Reuters 照片：卡加利動物園提供／路透
1. Where do pandas originate from? What is the main diet of pandas and how much do they have to eat per day?
2. Why did Calgary Zoo decide to return the pandas?
3. When and why did the pandas Er Shun and Da Mao arrive in Canada?
4. How many pandas will Canada return to China on this occasion?
(Lin Lee-kai, Taipei Times)
1. giant panda phr. 貓熊 (mao1 xiong2)
2. scarcity n. 缺乏 (que1 fa2)
3. bamboo n. 竹子 (zhu2 zi5)
4. abundant adj. 充裕的 (chong1 yu4 de5)
5. contingency plan phr. 應變計畫 (ying4 bian4 ji4 hua4)
6. nutritional requirements phr. 營養需求 (ying2 yang3 xu1 qiu2)
7. consume v. 攝取；吃；喝 (she4 qu3; chi1; he1)
8. animal welfare phr. 動物福利 (dong4 wu4 fu2 li4)
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