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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Giant Panda Official Launch Ceremony held at the Toronto Zoo

Toronto, Ontario, October 18, 2012: The Toronto Zoo Board of Management held an Official Launch Ceremony for the new Giant Panda Exhibit today.
 The event took place at Toronto Zoo, in front of the future home of the giant pandas who will arrive next spring 2013.

 The Toronto Zoo is tremendously excited about the arrival of the giant pandas Ji Li (female: meaning
pretty, achievement) and Er Shun (male: meaning double smoothness) in early May, when the Zoo
expects to open the exhibit.
 Present on this occasion were: John Tracogna, CEO Toronto Zoo, Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti, on behalf of Mayor Ford, Joe Torzsok, Chair, Toronto Zoo Board of Management, Councillor Raymond Cho, Giant Panda Outreach Task Force, Dr. Ming-Tat Cheung, Chair, Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Toronto and Mme. Dongmei Wu, Deputy Consul General, The People's Republic of China.

The culturally significant occasion featured a Chinese ceremonial lion dance by Northern Legs Southern Fists, a ceremonial planting of bamboo and a red maple tree to symbolize the partnership between Canada and China, a sneak peak at the future exhibit construction and interpretive centre plans, as well as the unveiling of the Zoo's "giant panda branding" and mascots.

"Today's event marked the beginning of the official countdown to welcoming giant pandas Ji Li and Er Shun.
Believe it or not, spring is just a few months away, and Toronto Zoo Board of Management, Giant Panda
Outreach Task Force and Zoo staff eagerly await their arrival," said Mr. John Tracogna, CEO, Toronto Zoo.

"We are honoured to host the giant pandas at the Toronto Zoo and contribute to the survival of the species for generations to come."

"The Toronto Zoo is thrilled to join the small group of countries and highly respected zoo organizations
outside of China that have the conservation and research programs, professional expertise, and facilities to
provide excellent care for a breeding pair of giant pandas, and of course we are hopeful for success in
breeding," said Mr. Joe Torzsok, Chair, Toronto Zoo Board of Management.

The new giant panda exhibit is situated at the former Amur tiger exhibit in the Zoo's Eurasia section. The
completed renovation will feature two outdoor exhibit areas, which include climbing structures, misters and a
pool – as giant pandas like to swim.

The interior of the building features two exhibit areas, each with a climbing apparatus, two holding areas for the giant pandas, as well as a Lab/Nursery space, Changing Room, Maternity area, and Food Preparation area. Prior to experiencing the giant panda exhibit all visitors will have the opportunity to enjoy the Zoo's Giant Panda Interpretive Centre.

This newly renovated climate controlled centre will feature many interpretive and interactive elements for visitors to enjoy year round. Interpretive themes will include Eating Bamboo, Threats to Giant Pandas, and Saving Giant Pandas. For more details on Toronto Zoo's giant pandas check out torontozoo.com

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Current Zoo Hours are 9:30am to 4:30pm weekdays and 9:30am to 6:00pm

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