The city of Toronto showcases her superior beauty in October,when all the trees are covered with colorful autumn leaves. Anyone driving past the city’s giant billboards will also have their attention drawn by the eye-catching black-and-white image of two giant pandas named Er Shun and Da Mao waving harry paws.
Just past the billboards, how is directed straight toward the Toronto Zoo. Images of pandas are displayed everywhere, on the doorways of the zoo’s entrances and on the outer walls, transforming the Toronto Zoo into a huge giant panda theme park. Hanging on the gate is the photo of Er Shun’s twin cubs, adding color and life to the beautiful scenery.
Anyone who understands giant panda breeding patterns, it is knowledge that female giant pandas mate in March and April during the beautiful blossoming spring. The mothers-to-be then give birth in June,July and August. Winter in Toronto is long and cold, with a temperature of 20cC below zero, causing a later spring that will not come until May. This pushes the delivery dates to October.
Er Shun’s cubs were born on Canada’s 71zanksgjving Day the second Monday in October. From that evening until early morning the next day it is a happy time of family reunions to enjoy turkey pumpkin pie and some cozy napping. During this national holiday a newsworthy nationwide toast was released on TV: “Er Shun delivered a pair of twin cubs!”
It was remarkable that her delivery took place on the day of gratitude.Since 1973 when diplomatic relations between Canada and China established, the Canadian government expressed their hope of sponsoring a pair of giant pandas time after time.
In July 1985, giant pandas Qing Qing and Quan Quan from Sichuan visited Canada with Chinese then-president Li Xiannian and his wife Lin Jiamei, and stayed in Toronto Zoo for l OO days. Tlze route from airport to the zoo was lined with police cars and guarded by a motorcycle escort.
A length of Dundas Street West, between Yonge Street and Spadina Avenue, was renamed as Panda Avenue for the time being, indicating the government’s interest and devotion to giant pandas.
Mrs. LinJiamei, China’s former First Lady hosted the grand opening ceremony 500,000 people were estimated to visit the pandas during the length of their stay In reality 35,000 people came just in the first two days. They waited for more than half an hour to have a look at the pandas for one . Many visitors lined up again after a short glance. At Anal count, there were approximately 1.2 million visitors in 100 days.
On March 26 2013, Er Shun, a female panda born at the Chongqing Zoo and her mate Da Mao, a male panda bore at Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, flew together to Toronto. John Tracogna, the director of the Toronto Zoo said that the Canadian people had at last received a pair of giant pandas after forty years of anticipation. According to the agreement, Er Shun and Da Mao would live in the Toronto Zoo and Calgary Zoo for five years each.
After 18 hours of flight, Er Shun and Da Mao, a Chongqing beauty and a Chengdu gentleman, did not appear to feel any weariness from the time difference] nor anxiety from the air turbulence. They ate all 100kg of fresh bamboo and fruit brought on the plane. Li Mingxi, the senior engineer in charge of the panda couple,said they were in good condition and had great appetites during the Night and displayed no stress from their travels.
Canada prepared to send the wife of former Prime Minister Stephen Harper to greet them at the airport. But after discussion, the greeting plan grew larger and larger. Finally it was decided that the former Prime Minister and his wife would both welcome Er Shun and Da Mao at the Toronto airport, the standard for greeting a head of state.
On that very day the weather was clear but the wind was billowing. Mr. and Mrs. Harper and other officials waited in the strong wind for over an hour. At last they caught sight ofEr Shun and Da Mao as the wind whipped merry around them.
Li Ming from Chengdu and Guo Wei from Chongqing, two experienced panda experts, stayed at the Toronto Zoo for six months to ensure a smooth transition and acclimatization to life in Canada.
In April 2015, Er Shun showed signs of being in estrus. The Chengdu Panda Base immediately sent breeding expert Cai Zhigang to Toronto to monitor the situation. Winter was lingering in Toronto through the latter part and small snowflakes still fell. A series of sunny days gave Cai hope of a successful pairing between Er Shun and Da Mao. By mid-May natural mating had not succeeded. To ensure Er Shun’s pregnancy Cai conducted an artificial insemination attempt. The other giant panda experts at the Chengdu Panda Base paid close attention to the situation in Toronto. They joked that Er Shun was so moved by the sincerity and enthusiasm of the Prime Minister and people of Canada that she deliberately gave birth to twin cubs on the night of Canadian Thanksgiving Day October 12. The character for “Shun” in her name, “Er Shun”, means “things go smoothly and successfully in Chinese. Er Shun’s successful delivery was definitely considered a smooth process for her twin cubs after just two years in Toronto.
For the health of the twin cubs, the Toronto Zoo did not initially allow public visits. Panda fans could only sign up online to win the chance to see the twins after one month.
On October 18, a special entourage visited the five days old panda cubs through the bars and windows in the company of Ms. Kemi Haider, manager of Toronto Zoo. The group consisted of Tan Kai, executive chiefeditor of the magazine Giant Panda and counselor fore the Giant Panda Ecology and Culture Research Society Dll Tianmei, president of the North American Alunmi Association of Sichuan.
University and Sichuan Normal University SangYichuan, renowned writer and Yang Guangli, a Huaxi Hospital official living in Toronto. The members of the special group observed the small, pink creatures wriggling in the incubator-a gift just like precious pearls in the palm of30 million Canadian people. Ms. Haider arranged for giant panda keepers Chen Min and Zhou Xueyan from the Chengdu Panda Base and Chongqing Zoo to meet their fellow countrymen.
Chen Min worked for more than ten Years in the held of giant panda rearing.She had taken care of dozens of giant panda cubs at the Chengdu Panda Base as well as in Wakayama, Japan and Madrid, Spain.Chen and Zhou got to work immediately after the birth of the twin cubs. Er Shun abandoned her younger cub instantly after birth, so the newborn cub was placed into an incubator right away The cub’s body temperature, weight, breathing,defecating, sounds, and mental state was closely monitored 24 hours a day requiring keepers to change shifts every 3 hours.
To make sure the twin cubs had enough colostrum, they were exchanged to Er Shun every two to three hours to nurse, a common practice used to ensure the twin cub survival. Unfortunately the younger cub could not nurse properly from Er Shun on the first few attempts, so Chen and Zhou had to figure out a way to manually nurse it by bottle-rearing. That was a time-consuming task and they quickly became exhausted. Luckily with their hard work, the weight of the elder cub was 18lg and the younger one 115g, both within the standard weight range. Er Shun was so highly cooperative when Chen trained her to nurse that Chen was able to pump the panda’s colostrum on the first try and her remained adequate for both cubs.
It was a steep learning for the mother Although tired Chen Min smiled with relaying her impressions of the experience. Chen Min and Zhou Xueyan, two small women far from home, were confident and skillful as they handled the newborn panda cubs. The Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding has already bred more than 150 giant pandas. Chen worked as a keeper for over ten years. Then she was at Toronto, she kept in close contact with Zhang Zhihe, director of the Chengdu Panda Base, Wang Chengdong, vice director of the Chengdu Panda Base,Lan Jingchao, director of the Animal Disease Prevention and Control Deputment, and Huang Xiangwing, director of the Animal Management Department, who paid continuous attention to Er Shun’s case from Chengdu.
Based on the prediction of the Toronto Zoo, Er Shun was set to give birth on October 15. Experts Rom Chengdu communicated with Toronto Zoo that despite using scientific technology and equipment like B-scan images, urine hormone detection or observing antenatal behavior that giant panda birthing dates are often an uncertainty. This was confirmed by Er Shun’s delivery two days early Experts at the Chengdu Panda Base urged the Toronto Zoo keepers to strengthen Er Shun’s nutrition supply before and after her delivery and to guarantee the cubs have adequate .
Ms. Harder said that there was no suitable bamboo for giant pandas to eat in Canada, so they arranged the transport of fresh bamboo from Memphis, Tennessee in the United States to Toronto by airplane twice per week. Er Shun and Da Mao now enthusiastically enjoy American-grown bamboo.
Toronto and Chengdu, two cities located 20,000km apart are closely tied together by the new lives born at the Toronto Zoo. The birth of this pair of twin cubs is a great blessing for Toronto and Chengdu, for Ontario and Sichuan, and for Canada and China!