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Toronto Zoo unveils plans for new giant pandas exhibit (2)


13:30, October 19, 2012

The loan, which is part of a long-term conservation partnership between the two countries, will mean that the pair of pandas will get to spend five years first at the Toronto Zoo before they head over to Calgary, a city in the province of Alberta, for the remainder of the 10-year agreement.

The zoo gave attendees a sneak peak of the panda's temporary home during their stay at the Toronto Zoo. It will feature an existing exhibit which will be renovated into a Giant Panda Interpretive Centre. It will have interactive themes like eating bamboo, their threats, panda conservation and much more to teach visitors everything they need to know about pandas.

"I think it's going to be a little bit different from any place around the world, that people first learn all about it, get really excited, use new technology, and then go and see the pandas out here in the exhibit," Tracogna said about the design of the exhibit.

He said it will be a cross-cultural experience for the diverse demographics in the city.

"It's also reflective of the changing demographics here in Toronto where a lot of new cultures can experience giant pandas for the first time," said Tracogna. "There are many generations that have not seen or had the opportunity to see giant pandas up close and live, so it's very exciting for the Toronto Zoo, for Canada and for everyone involved."

The pandas are slated for Calgary in the spring of 2018, but plans may change if Ji Li becomes pregnant during her stay. Tracogna said the pair may end up staying longer if breeding is successful.

"Hopefully at the end of the five years, we'll have new born panda bears, the first time ever that this will happen in Canada," he said.

The last time Toronto had pandas at the zoo was in 1985, when the zoo saw a record attendance of 1.9 million visitors during the three-month exhibit.

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