CALGARY — The Calgary Zoo says it's hopeful two giant pandas will be able to return home soon to China, where bamboo supplies are abundant.
The zoo said in May that it would be sending the pair back early because the COVID-19 pandemic was making it difficult to source the plant that makes up 99 per cent of their diet.
But international permits to transport the pandas to China were also stymied by the pandemic, and the zoo raised concerns last month about the animals' well-being.
The zoo says international permit approvals are now underway and it's cautiously optimistic it will be able to confirm a flight to China for the pandas soon.
It says it has secured a supply of fresh bamboo from across North America in anticipation of its Canadian supply running out this month.
The zoo says the bamboo hunt has been all-consuming and expensive, but the zoo is committed to doing everything it needs to to ensure the pandas are healthy.
Er Shun and Da Mao arrived in Calgary in 2018, along with cubs Jia Panpan and Jia Yueyue, after spending five years at the Toronto Zoo. The cubs were returned to China in January and their parents were to remain in Calgary until 2023.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 25, 2020.
The Canadian Press