Our cubs are growing and enjoying their first Canadian winter in the snow! Jia Panpan now weighs 30 kg and his sister Jia Yueyue weighs 27 kg. Jia Panpan has finally begun to eat the leafeater biscuits that make up a good part of the adult pandas diet. Jia Yueyue has been eating these for months but her brother has been slightly on the pickier side ;) . He will now eat them if they are soaked with a little bit of Ensure, which is something Er Shun gets on a daily basis as a supplement while the cubs are nursing. The most interesting thing for our Keepers at the panda house is the amount of bamboo the cubs are now devouring! They’ve both decided that this green stuff is really yummy.
Keepers have also begun training with both cubs which is going well, both cubs are learning to place their arms into the blood sleeve to allow for voluntary blood draws.
Happy First Birthday Jia Panpan and Jia Yueyue!
On October 13, 2016, Jia Panpan and Jia Yueyue enjoyed a festive birthday celebration including some of the other Toronto Zoo babies (artwork display versions) who brought the cubs gifts, containing traditional Chinese fortunes of "Prosperity", "Happiness", "Wealth", and of course, "Lots of Bamboo". Jia Yueyue was quick to select a gift of "Wealth", whereas Jia Panpan let his tummy lead, and he selected a gift of "Lots of Bamboo".
Media, Zoo staff and volunteers, and VIPs including Mr. Zheng Guangda, Vice President & Secretary General and Ms. Zeying Yu, Vice General Secretary, Chinese Association of Zoological Gardens (CAZG) were on hand to help celebrate this milestone for Canada's only giant panda cubs.
"The Toronto Zoo is thrilled to be hosting this one-year birthday celebration for our giant panda cubs," said John Tracogna, Chief Executive Officer, Toronto Zoo. "We are grateful to all of the partners who continue to support the ongoing success of our giant panda program, including the Chinese Association of Zoological Gardens, Chengdu Research Base of Giant Pandas, Chongqing Zoo, State Forestry Administration of China and the Canadian Embassy in Beijing."
WATCH below to see their first year in review, and them opening up their birthday presents! Photos from the event HERE.
11 Month Update
Jia Panpan now weighs 21.22kg and Jia Yueyue weighs 17.25kg. Both are progressing well with their training (especially loving their sweet potato as a reward!). Jia Yueyue tends to be more independent spending time on her own, however Jia Panpan still is quite an instigator, frequently play wrestling with her.
Watch them enjoy their new slide enrichment below:
10 Month Update
Jia Panpan currently weighs 19.11 kg and Jia Yueyue now weighs 15.1 kg. Check out new photos below to see how big they are getting!
9 Month Update
Our giant panda cubs are gowing fast. Jia Panpan weighs in at 16.8kg and Jia Yueyue at 13.25kg. As they've gotten older, our panda keepers have been patiently waiting to start a training program with them both, something Er Shun and Da Mao have participated in since they arrived in 2013.
The Toronto Zoo has a very extensive positive reinforcement training program. This voluntary training is very enriching for the animals and greatly enhances the overall care and management. It assists in various veterinary procedures, breeding programs and routine husbandry activities. This was used by Toronto Zoo staff to ultrasound Er Shun on a regular basis to determine her pregnancy! This method uses a food item that is rewarding enough for the pandas to want to participate and stay engaged. Since the cubs were four months old, the keepers have offered them pieces of apple (mom's favourite) however, the cubs didn't take much interest in them. Following the National Zoo's lead with training their cub Bei Bei, the keepers tried small pieces of cooked yam and the cubs loved it!
The panda keepers are thrilled with the cubs’ progress and are amazed by how quickly they are learning. Visit them daily from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm in the Giant Panda Experience.
8 month update
Jia Panpan and Jia Yueyue continue to grow fast, weighing 14.4kg and 11.15kg. Although they aren't eating very much quite yet, they have now developed a keen interest in bamboo. Our Keepers have observed them both carrying small branches of bamboo leaf up the platform, reclining backwards like adult pandas, and nibbling away!
You can visit our giant panda cubs from 9:00am to 5:30pm daily in the Giant Panda Experience.
7 Month Update
Jia Panpan currently weighs 12.75 kg and Jia Yueyue now weighs 9.70 kg. Keepers have noticed big changes with Jia Panpan, as his climbing skills have significantly improved and he has become very curious, climbing in new areas of his habitat. However, it is still his little sister Jia Yueyue, who appears to figure things out first and then Jia Panpan follows suit.
Thank you for accompanying us on this exciting journey as we continue to watch them grow!
Our panda cubs Jia Panpan and Jia Yueyue are just shy of their six month milestone!
Both cubs are extremely mobile, playful, and showing more bear-like tendencies. Both enjoy their cuddle time with mom Er Shun, but are still very energetic throughout the day in between naps. Jia Yueyue continues to be very adventurous and is always the first to explore new areas and heights. Jia Panpan loves to play wrestle with Jia Yueyue, although she is not shy to instigate a play match either. They both continue to grow, with Jia Panpan now weighing 9.61kg and Jia Yueyue weighing in at 7.82kg.
Our cubs have names! Meet Jia Panpan and Jia Yueyue.
From February 8th-28th, we asked the public to help us name our giant panda cubs. With a list of seven pairs of names to choose from, the top voted names were Jia Panpan and Jia Yueyue!
Jia Panpan 加盼盼 (ja-pan-pan) Canadian Hope
Jia Yueyue 加悦悦 (ja-yueh) Canadian joy
On March 7, 2016, the Zoo held a special ceremony for our cubs where VIP's, special guests, and media joined us in revealing their names. A very special thank you to The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, The Honourable Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario, His Worship John Tory, Mayor of Toronto, Chinese Ambassador to Canada Luo Zhaohui, Chair of the Toronto Zoo Board of Management Raymond Cho, Toronto Zoo CEO John Tracogna, "Name Our Cubs" partner OMAC and sponsor Cathay Pacific who joined us.
We also want to thank all those who voted to help name our cubs! Visitors can meet Jia Panpan and Jia Yueyue beginning March 12.
4 Month Update
Our giant panda cubs just turned 4 months old on Saturday February 13 and are now taking solid steps and are becoming extremely mobile! Don't forget to help name them, now through February 28, at www.torontozoo.com/nameourcubs.
Just shy of their four month milestone on February 13, we have determined the sex of the cubs! The larger cub who was born first is male (left), and the smaller cub born second is female (right).
Telling the sex of a giant panda based solely on their appearance is not very straightforward or reliable. To determine the sex of the cubs, staff collected cheek-cell samples from the cubs with a small swab and drove them to Trent University, Natural Resources DNA Profiling and Forensic Centre. The forensic team at Trent used DNA sexing protocols developed by the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, Center for Conservation and Evolutionary Genetics. The protocol involves sequencing a short fragment of the zinc finger protein gene (males have two different copies of this gene region, X/Y whereas females have two identical copies, X/X).
The twin cubs now weigh 5.55 kg and 4.85 kg. Both continue to become more active and playful, often play-wrestling with one another. Both are trying hard to walk and are improving daily. Their noses are almost fully blackened and their fur continues to become fuller and fuzzier and their teeth continue to come in.
Our giant panda cubs are now 100 days old!
Born at only 181.7 and 115 grams, both twins have grown from tiny, pink, hairless cubs to strong, fuzzy pandas with distinctive black and white markings. This 100 Day celebration follows an ancient Chinese tradition that when a child reaches his or her 100th day of life, he or she has survived the risky fragility of infancy and may be considered on track for a successful future.
WATCH the first 100 days of their incredible journey:
Our giant panda cubs are now 10 weeks old! The larger cub weighs just over 3kg and is 56.5 centimetres in length from the top of the head to the tip of the tail. The smaller cub is almost 2.5kg and is 50 centimetres in length. Their eyes are now fully open and they are becoming more mobile.
Since the birth of her twins, Er Shun has shown excellent maternal instincts with both giant panda cubs. She has been exceptionally co-operative with twin-swapping the cubs and nurses them both several times a day. The strong bond she has formed with each cub is remarkable, and Zoo staff remain optimistic it will continue on when both cubs are with mom at approximately four months of age. While we are very please with their progress, this is still a critical time for each cub.
December 9, 2015
Our twin giant panda cubs continue to do well at week 6, and have been moved to a larger incubator as they have outgrown their first one!
The giant panda keepers and Chinese experts continue to twin-swap the cubs with Er Shun and as they grow, both cubs are being supplemented with formula. The only time the cubs are not with mom is when she is eating bamboo. Since Er Shun is a lactating mother, staff have been very focused on increasing her bamboo intake which is very important to maintain her milk production.
It is still a very critical time for these cubs and they remain in the maternity area of the Giant Panda Exhibit which is not visible to the public.
Our giant panda cubs' eyes are now partially open! This milestone can take place anywhere between six to eight weeks of age. Their eyes are sensitive to both light and dark, however they cannot yet see clearly. Their vocalizations are also changing and becoming stronger each day. Both cubs are now over 2,000 grams and they average 48 centimetres in length from the tip of their head to tip of their tail.
This is still a very critical time for these cubs. Both Er Shun and the cubs will remain in the maternity den which is not viewable to the public however, Er Shun now periodically has access to her day room to promote exercise and to give her a chance to eat her bamboo.
At one month old, our twin giant panda cubs are healthy and continue to grow. The larger of the two cubs now weighs over one kilogram, with the smaller cub not far behind at approximately 750 grams. The undercoat (or insulating hair) continues to grow in thicker and whiter, making the areas on their bodies where the skin is not pigmented black, look much whiter. They truly look like giant pandas now.
Er Shun continues to be a great mother and the cubs are progressing very well. However, it is still a very critical time for these little cubs. Both cubs are with mom in the maternity den not viewable by the public.
November 2, 2015
It has been three weeks since our giant panda cubs were born and they have tripled in weight.
Both cubs are developing more white fuzz over their bodies and are looking more and more like giant pandas as their black markings are really starting to show. You can also now start to see on their tiny paws where they are developing the groove by their pseudo thumb pads which will enable them to hold bamboo when they get much older.
Er Shun continues to be a great mother and the cubs are progressing very well. However, it is still a very critical time for these little cubs.
October 22, 2015
Our cubs are starting to look like giant pandas!
Both cubs are starting to develop very visible black and white markings with black pigment coming in on the saddle of their shoulders, around their eyes and on their ears. Er Shun has been a great mom and the cubs are doing well, but will continue to be very vulnerable for several more weeks. Both cubs and mom are in the maternity area of the giant panda house not viewable by public, but we will continue sharing regular updates, photos and videos.
October 18, 2015
At almost one week old, our twin giant panda cubs are becoming quite vocal, active and bright.
Their white fur appears to be fuzzier and hints of black pigment can now be noticed on their skin over their ears, around their eyes and even over their shoulders. While their eyes are still closed, they are wiggling and demonstrating all of the right behaviours looking for nourishment from mom.
Both cubs are suckling/nursing from mom, and Er Shun continues to demonstrate strong maternal instincts, cradling, nursing and continuing to form a bond with both cubs.
While we are extremely encouraged by their progress, it is still a critical time for these tiny cubs, as we continue to provide the best care possible for Er Shun and her newborns. Be sure to watch for new photos of our cubs in their album here.
October 15, 2015
The giant panda team continues to closely monitor the two cubs and Er Shun around the clock. With the assistance of two giant panda experts from the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in China, the team continues to twin-swap the cubs. This not only enables Er Shun to nurse and bond with each cub, but also provides the Zoo's Wildlife Health Centre and Wildlife Care staff with the opportunity to weigh each cub and conduct regular health checks.
While there has been some weight fluctuations with both cubs, which is very common with newborns, both of them are currently stable. Yesterday, the cubs were observed nursing from Er Shun and if the team notices that one or both of the cubs are not suckling from her, the team is able to collect milk from Er Shun and give it to the cubs extremely carefully, by bottle.
We continue to communicate with our colleagues around the globe, who have been fortunate enough to have giant panda cubs, to share insights and best practices. We want to thank everyone for the ongoing support and encouragement during this critical time. We will continue to update you as information becomes available as the team continues to be very focused on the health and well being of the cubs and Er Shun.
October 13, 2015
Er Shun has been demonstrating excellent maternal instincts and began cleaning and cradling the first cub soon after its birth. Immediately following the birth of the second cub, Toronto Zoo staff from the Wildlife Health Centre, Wildlife Care and two giant panda experts from Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in China, retrieved the cub to initiate the Toronto Zoo's Giant Panda Twin Hand-Rearing Protocol. The cub was then placed in an incubator in the maternity area of the giant panda house, and approximately two hours after its birth the second cub was twin-swapped so it could begin the bonding process with Er Shun. The first cub weighed 181.7 grams at birth and the second cub weighed 115 grams. While this is wonderful news, the tiny cubs are very vulnerable at this size, so the next several hours and days will be critical to their survival.
The cubs will remain in the maternity area of the giant panda house for several months. As the maternity area of the giant panda house is not visible to the public, Toronto Zoo staff will endeavor to provide regular updates on their progress.
At this time Zoo staff do not know the sex of the cubs and have not confirmed which panda is the father. It may be several months before we are able to determine the sex and paternity of the cubs.