TORONTO, ON Monday, March 7, 2016: Today, the Toronto Zoo Board of Management hosted a Giant Panda Cubs Celebration and Name Reveal event, with the cubs making their debut to the invited guests. The event took place at the Toronto Zoo in the Panda Interpretive Centre, and at the Giant Panda Experience where the giant panda cubs will be on exhibit to the public beginning Saturday, March 12, 2016. Participating in this historic milestone event were: The Right Honourable, Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, Luo Zhaohui, Ambassador, Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of People's Republic of China, The Honourable Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario, His Worship John Tory, Mayor of Toronto, John Tracogna, Chief Executive Officer, Toronto Zoo, and Raymond Cho, Chair, Toronto Zoo Board of Management. The name reveal included both Canadian and Chinese national anthems sung by young twins from the Toronto Parents of Multiple Births Association and Yip's Music & Montessori School of Somerset Campus (respectively) and The Governor General's Horse Guards, Canadian Armed Forces.
To coincide with Chinese New Year, the Toronto Zoo launched the "Our Giant Panda Cubs Need Names", presented by Cathay Pacific Airways promotion on Monday, February 8, 2016 and promoted by the members of the Out-of-Home Marketing Association of Canada with an in-kind national advertising campaign. The public were encouraged to vote online and pick their favourite pair of panda cub names from seven different sets of names. Voting took place through Sunday, February 28, 2016 and with over 18,000 votes - the names Jia Panpan (Ja-Pan-Pan) meaning Canadian Hope (for the male cub) & Jia Yueyue (Ja-Yueh-Yueh) meaning Canadian Joy (for the female cub) were selected by the public. CLICK HERE for pronunciation.
"Today we are here to celebrate a success story. A story that started years ago when discussions first began about starting a giant panda program at the Toronto Zoo," said John Tracogna, Chief Executive Officer, Toronto Zoo. "This success story wouldn't have been possible without the support from the City of Toronto and our partners here and around the world. If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a global village to raise giantpanda cubs."
"On behalf of the Board of Management, I want to commend the Zoo staff and particularly the giant panda keepers and the two giant panda specialists from China for their outstanding expertise,” said Raymond Cho, Chair, Toronto Zoo Board of Management. “The raising of giant panda cubs Jia Panpan & Jia Yueyue is an opportunity to continue with these critical initiatives, as well as an opportunity to educate the public about this important conservationflagship species."
Giant panda cubs Jia Panpan & Jia Yueyue will be on exhibit to the public this March Break beginning Saturday, March 12, 2016 through Sunday, March 20, 2016 from 9:30 am to 6:00 pm daily*. This schedule is subject to change as there may be times when the cubs are brought inside the giant panda house to enable our Veterinary and Wildlife Care teams to continue to closely monitor their progress. Since the cubs are still quite young, they require a lot of sleep and they usually nap after they have had some playtime following each meal. While we encourage visitors to come and meet our giant panda cubs, we also ask that they respect their "quiet times". Growing pandas need their rest!
The Toronto Zoo would like to acknowledge the ongoing support from Chongqing Zoo and Chengdu Panda Base of Giant Panda Breeding for their assistance in raising Toronto Zoo's giant panda cubs born on October 13, 2015 by providing us with two giant panda specialists whose knowledge and experience has been invaluable during this time. The Toronto Zoo is involved in many research projects in the conservation breeding program and in the wild to assist in saving this endangered species.
*Public viewing times for the giant panda cubs will vary after March Break, please check out torontozoo.com for details. Subject to change without notice.