World-class Expertise Gathered to Care for Giant Pandas

Posted on September 26

Calgary, AB – The Calgary Zoo is proud to announce that an international team of experts has been assembled to care for the giant pandas which begin a five-year stay in Calgary next spring.   

“This unique species requires a particular set of expertise and capability,” says Jamie Dorgan, Director of Animal Care, Calgary Zoo. “Not only have we built a state-of-the-art facility as their new home, we will provide world-class care in terms of nutrition, veterinary care, enrichment and husbandry techniques. That includes anticipating support for breeding, as well as pregnancy and neonatal care. We are ramping up so these giant pandas receive the same high level of care we provide all our animals.” 

A two-person team of panda experts from China will work in Calgary for the first two years to assist in the transition of the giant pandas’ arrival in Calgary, helping the animals settle and adapt to their new home.  

Calgary Zoo is also expanding its current relationship with Animal Care Solutions of Strathmore (ACS), who will be utilizing its current expertise which includes a panda specialist who will be part of a dedicated ACS panda care team. This specialist brings more than 10 years of international experience, and eight years of working specifically with pandas; a native Calgarian, this zoo professional also speaks Mandarin and Cantonese, which is crucial in working with the Chinese team in caring for the giant pandas.  

In addition, a small team will be sent to the Toronto Zoo to work closely with the professionals who currently care for the pandas at that facility. Dorgan says this will be a valuable key to further understanding the behaviours, family dynamics and specific nutrition needs of the four pandas that will arrive in Calgary in the spring of 2018. A team from Toronto Zoo will also travel to Calgary to escort the transportation of the giant pandas and will assist in their transition in Panda Passage. 

In 2012, it was announced that the Calgary Zoo would host giant pandas for a five year stay; by caring for this symbol of wildlife conservation, the zoo can help to educate its community on how they can save and protect other at-risk species and continue to support the positive momentum in giant panda conservation efforts. The zoo will be welcoming, Er Shun and Da Mao, and her two cubs, Jia Panpan and Jia Yueyue. 

As an umbrella species, by investing in protecting giant pandas, the zoo is not only protecting this symbol of wildlife conservation, but also all of the species within their habitat and promoting the unique biodiversity of this region. 

*Photo credit courtesy of the Toronto Zoo. 

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Trish Exton-Parder 
Lead, Media Relations 
Calgary Zoo 
Phone: 403.232.9381 
Mobile: 403.371.9075 
[email protected]