Animal lovers, you can now mark your calenders.
The Toronto Zoo has announced the two giant pandas will be arriving on loan from China on March 25.
But don’t get too excited yet. It will take some time before the animals can be viewed by the public, the zoo says.
The pair of pandas will have to stay under quarantine for 30 days after their arrival and will also need time to get used to their new surroundings.
Once they are fully ready to be introduced to the public, the zoo has plans for a celebration, says Maria Franke, curator of mammals at the Toronto Zoo.
“There will be a big, big unveiling of the new habitat and the pandas,” Franke said. “We have a delegation from China that will be coming and joining us. Huge festivities.”
The exact date for when this will happen has yet to be decided. When the date is set, the zoo will make another announcement.
The giant panda pair, one male and one female, will be in Toronto for five years before moving on to Calgary for the same amount of time.
They are here as part of a breeding partnership with China.
While the pandas are here, the Toronto Zoo hopes to be able to breed them. With a window of opportunity between 24 and 72 hours for a female panda to become pregnant every year, it will be a tough task.
The zoo is also hoping the pandas will help educate the public on endangered species and what is being done to help them.
“It is all about conservation, survival of the species. Showcasing what the Chinese authorities are doing to help save the giant panda in the wild,” said Franke.
Although the giant pandas will be the main source of this education, the zoo will also be able to showcase some of their own conservation initiatives with local and Canadian species, says Franke.
The zoo has created a new panda exhibit to house the animals during their stay in Toronto and the zoo is looking for volunteers to help with the public’s interaction when viewing them.
The Toronto Zoo is located at 361A Old Finch Ave. and is open every day of the year except Dec. 25.