Panda cubs to stay in Calgary until early 2020, zoo says

The Calgary Zoo threw a birthday bash for its panda cubs with two specially themed parties held simultaneously to honour each of the cubs. DARREN MAKOWICHUK/Postmedia

The Calgary Zoo’s two panda cubs will continue to call Panda Passage home for a little bit longer, the zoo announced Monday.

Jia Panpan and Jia Yueyue are now expected to depart for the giant panda research base in Chengdu, China, in early 2020.

“We are fortunate to have such an experienced team, dedicated to co-ordinating transportation and logistics for our beloved animals safely,” zoo officials said in a tweet Monday afternoon.

The four-year-old panda twins were born at the Toronto Zoo on Oct. 13, 2015. Their mother, female panda Er Shun, and male panda Da Mao were brought to Toronto in 2013 as part of a loan agreement between Canada and China. The cubs’ names translate to Canadian Hope and Canadian Joy.

One of the young pandas checks out a pumpkin at the Calgary Zoo in this file photo from Oct. 31, 2018. Leah Hennel / Postmedia

The giant pandas arrived in Calgary in May 2018. The Calgary Zoo hosted a farewell party for the twins from Oct. 4 to Oct. 6, as the two young pandas were originally scheduled to be moved to China this year.

Er Shun and Da Mao will finish their 10-year stay in Canada in 2023.

The Calgary Zoo announced earlier this month that 12-year-old Er Shun is not pregnant. Animal care and veterinary teams had been monitoring her for signs of pregnancy since she was artificially inseminated in April.

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