Toronto Zoo Hosts VIP Event to Preview Giant Panda Experience

May 16, 2013, 20:45 ET from Toronto Zoo

Exhibit Opens To The General Public On Saturday, May 18, 2013

TORONTO, May 16, 2013 /CNW/ - The Toronto Zoo Board of Management today held an Official VIP Preview for the new Giant Panda Experience today from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm. The event took place at Toronto Zoo, in front of the new giant panda exhibit.  Participating in this milestone event were: John Tracogna, CEO Toronto Zoo, Joe Torzsok, Chair, Toronto Zoo Board of Management, Ambassador Zhang Junsai, Embassy of the People's Republic of China, The Honourable Peter Van Loan, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, The Honourable Michael Chan, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport and Minister responsible for Pan/Parapan American Games, His Worship, Mayor Rob Ford, City of Toronto, Lisa Lisson, President FedEx Express Canada, James Chiu, President Mandarin Restaurant and Xie Zhong, Chinese Association of Zoological Gardens (CAZG), Vice Secretary General.  The opening ceremony included both Canadian and Chinese national anthems sung by Davisville Public School and Yip's Children's Choir (respectively) and Toronto's Royal Canadian Navy Band HMCS York.

"This is one of the most highly anticipated exhibit openings in Toronto Zoo history and we are very proud and honoured to be hosting Giant Pandas Er Shun and Da Mao. With the Giant Panda Experience opening to the public on Saturday May 18th, we are anticipating an overwhelming reaction to this beautiful and unique exhibit" said John Tracogna, Toronto Zoo CEO.

The Toronto Zoo is Canada's premier zoo and a leader in wildlife preservation and environmental protection. More than a tourist attraction, the Toronto Zoo boasts a number of leading programs for helping wildlife and their natural habitats - from species reintroduction to reproductive research.  "The Giant Panda Experience will be an opportunity to continue with these essential conservation initiatives, as well as an opportunity to educate the public about this important flagship species" said Joe Torzsok, Chair, Toronto Zoo Board of Management.

The giant pandas Er Shun (female: double smoothness) and Da Mao (male: meaning first born) have settled in very well to their new habitat and are eating a lot of bamboo with both of them liking the Aurea species.  The keepers weigh them regularly with Er Shun currently weighting 100 kg and Da Mao at 99.8 kg. Both giant pandas are getting more and more curious with their new enrichment items and Da Mao loves to participate in his training sessions with the keepers. Er shun is slowly catching on to her training routine.

The new giant panda experience is situated at the former Amur tiger exhibit in the Zoo's Eurasia section and features two outdoor exhibit areas, which include climbing structures and a pool - as giant pandas like to swim. The interior of the building features two exhibit areas - each with a climbing apparatus and two holding areas for the giant pandas.  Also included are; a laboratory and nursery space, changing room, maternity area, and food preparation area. Prior to experiencing the giant panda exhibit, all visitors will have the opportunity to enjoy the Zoo's Giant Panda Interpretive Centre. This newly renovated climate controlled centre will feature many interpretive and interactive elements for visitors to enjoy year round. Interpretive themes will include Eating Bamboo, Threats to Giant Pandas, and Saving Giant Pandas.

SOURCE Toronto Zoo

Video with caption: "Toronto Zoo Hosts VIP Event to Preview Giant Panda Experience". Video available at:

Image with caption: "Da Mao, (Born Sept 1 2008) giant panda, enjoys some bamboo during a VIP/Media Event at the Toronto Zoo. The Giant Panda Experience opens to the public on May 18th. (CNW Group/Toronto Zoo)". Image available at:

Image with caption: "Er Shun, (Born Aug 10 2007) old giant panda, relaxing in the indoor exhibit at the VIP/Media Event at the Toronto Zoo. The Giant Panda Experience opens to the public on Saturday, May 18. (CNW Group/Toronto Zoo)". Image available at: