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The Wait Is Finally Over. The Giant Pandas Are Here!

(Updated May 15, 2013)

The Toronto Zoo is very pleased to report that giant pandas Er Shun and Da Mao are now settled in comfortably after having been successfully moved into their new habitat on Monday, March 25, 2013.

The off load into their new exhibit went smoothly and we want to thank FedEx Express for the exceptional attention to detail during all points of the transport, both in the air and on the ground.

FedEx's expertise in moving precious cargo was clearly demonstrated to everyone at the Toronto Zoo. The delivery of Er Shun and Da Mao will mark our sixth delivery of endangered giant pandas. Our teams around the world work diligently to create a safe and comfortable trip for the pandas.

Facts about the FedEx Panda Express!



Type of aircraftMD-11F; there are currently 64 MD-11F aircraft in the FedEx fleet
Wing span:51.8 meters (169.9 feet)
Length:61.3 meters (201.1 feet)
Height:17.7 meters (58.1 feet)
Cruising speed:925 kilometers per hour (575 miles per hour)
Maximum Gross Payload:89,800 kgs (197,975 pounds)
"Panda Livery"This charter flight is outfitted in special FedEx Panda Express decals that are nearly 5.5 meters (18 feet) high and more than 5.7 meters (18.7 feet) long. The decals are applied to both sides of the plane. It took four days to complete the decaling process, which includes washing and drying the aircraft, applying the decals, and a curing process to ensure proper adhesion.
Distance from Chengdu, China, to Toronto, Canada 12,875 statute kilometers (8,000 miles)
Trip Duration Nearly 18 hours from take-off in Chengdu, China, to touch-down in Toronto, Canada
Flight Routing The aircraft will made a stop in Vancouver, British Columbia in order to re-fuel and for a fresh crew (pilots and load master) to take charge of the aircraft. The stop will last approximately one hour.
Panda enclosures The enclosures were originally built for FedEx in 2010 to support the U.S.-to-China trip of giant pandas Mei Lan and Tai Shan. They were manufactured using steel and plexiglass and weigh approximately 365 kgs (805 pounds) each. They have removable side panels that allow the attendants a full view and access to the giant pandas during the flight.

The enclosures were shipped to the Chongqing Zoo and the Chengdu Panda Research Base 7-10 days prior to the charter flight to allow the giant pandas to become acclimated to them.
Panda in-flight catering
The plane was stocked with bamboo, bamboo shoots, apples, water, toys and more to ensure a comfortable in-flight experience for the giant pandas

Both giant pandas travelled well, with Er Shun being a little nervous, but both are now resting and curious about their new surroundings. They ate almost 200 kgs of apples and 200 kgs of bamboo during their flight. On Friday, March 22, 2013, FedEx delivered a shipment of bamboo from the Memphis Zoo and almost immediately after being unloaded, both giant pandas were heartily enjoying bamboo. The Toronto Zoo will continue to receive regular shipments of bamboo from Memphis which will be transported by FedEx as part of their ongoing commitment to the giant pandas.

Once our precious cargo Er Shun and Da Mao arrived in Toronto they underwent a Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) 30 day minimum quarantine. Although they were not formally introduced to each other in the same room (during quarantine), Er Shun and Da Mao could see and smell each other from across the hallway of their respective holding areas. During this time, the Chinese Giant Panda Experts and the Toronto Zoo Keepers, worked closely with the giant pandas and monitored their overall health and behaviour.

Our veterinary team also performed several health checks and various tests to ensure Er Shun and Da Mao were adapting comfortably. Keepers will also began to introduce training and enrichment programs. This was the perfect time for the animals to get use to their new surroundings and for Zoo staff to get to know Er Shun and Da Mao.

After the quarantine period, we slowly introduced Er Shun and Da Mao to the rest of their habitat leading up the Exhibit Grand Opening. Er Shun and Da Mao have settled in very well to their new habitat at the Toronto Zoo. They are eating a lot of bamboo and they both like the Aurea species. The giant pandas are currently getting young bamboo growth and they both LOVE it! The Zoo keepers weigh them regularly and Er Shun just out beats Da Mao weighing 100 kilograms and Da Mao weighs 99.8 kilograms.

The official CFIA quarantine is over and staff are allowing both giant pandas the chance to explore all of their new habitat areas. Both giant pandas are getting more and more curious with their new enrichment items and Da Mao loves to participate in his training sessions with the keepers. Er shun is slowly catching on to her training routine. Li and Wei the Chinese Giant Panda Experts have been a tremendous help working alongside the Toronto Zoo keepers and their expertise has been invaluable.

Want to know how the rest of Er Shun and Da Mao's story unfolds? See for yourself when the exhibit opens on Saturday, May 18th - they both can't wait to meet you!




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