China to loan two pandas to Canada

As the debate continues about whether we should focus on pandas as single species,  not habitats, or just creatures where survival is likely – see my resource page –    – China Daily reports on another exchange. Note that in the case of Edinburgh Zoos pandas, Scotland had to pick up the tab!  

WHAT DO YOU THINK? Should panda exchanges continue? Are they helpful in raising awareness for conservation or just a tourism magnet? Comment here below or at my twitter

China on Saturday agreed to loan two of the country’s precious giant pandas toCanadian zoos for a 10-year research program.

The Chinese Association of Zoological Gardens (CAZG) Saturday signed the deal with twoCanadian zoos in Chongqing, a municipality in Southwest China.

The panda pair, both around five years old, will stay in the Toronto and Calgary zoos for five yearseach after they arrive in Canada early next year, according to the agreement.

The male panda, named “Er Shun,” is from a zoo in Chongqing and the female – “Ji Li” lives in theChengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, home of over 100 pandas in the neighboringSichuan province.

Giant pandas are the world’s most endangered species. About 300 of the animals have been bredin captivity and 1,596 others live in the wild, mostly in Sichuan.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper witnessed Saturday’s signing ceremony during his visit toChongqing.

“They will be the first pair of pandas to visit Canada since the 1980s,” said Harper.

In his second visit to China, Harper came to Beijing on Tuesday for a five-day trip as a guest ofPremier Wen Jiabao. The Canadian prime minister met and held talks with top Chinese leadersand witnessed the signing of several bilateral agreements regarding cooperation in trade,technology, education, forestry, energy and agriculture.

Harper also visited China’s southern economic hub of Guangdong province before heading toChongqing.

source: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2012-02/11/content_14584683.htm

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