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Saturday, May 16, 2015

Giant panda breeding program at the Toronto Zoo

Giant pandas are an endangered species and the Toronto Zoo is very proud to be participating in a giant panda conservation breeding program.

Since January 2015, Toronto Zoo staff, including reproductive scientists, veterinarians and wildlife care staff have been carefully monitoring Er Shun, the female giant panda. Earlier this week, Er Shun started showing signs of entering the breeding cycle through elevated levels of estrogen and decreased progesterone. As this critical period of estrus lasts for 24 – 72 hours and only occurs once a year, the Toronto Zoo team had to act quickly.  

As a result, Er Shun underwent two non-surgical artificial insemination (AI) procedures on Thursday, May 14th.  Zoo staff and a giant panda breeding expert from Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in China used sperm collected from Da Mao for the first procedure and frozen sperm collected from two giant pandas in China that were imported to Toronto Zoo in 2014, for the
second AI. 

Giant pandas have what is called delayed implantation and the gestation period is anywhere from 87 to 186 days from the date of insemination. As a result, Toronto Zoo staff will not know if she is pregnant until approximately 20 days before she gives birth. For this time frame, staff have trained
Er Shun for ultrasound and hope they will be able to see a fetus. Toronto Zoo staff will continue to closely monitor her and watch for any unusual behaviour.

We will provide updates as they become available and we thank everyone for their support
during this time.
 Er Shun AI Procedure: Photo Credit Toronto Zoo

9:00am to 7:00pm, daily
Last admission's one hour before closing.
The Toronto Zoo is open year round (except Dec. 25th).
Member Exclusive Early Giant Panda viewing:
May 2 to Jun 28, 2015 - 8:30am - 9:00am,weekends only
Jun 29 to Sep 7, 2015  - 8:30am - 9:00am, daily
General Admission (13-64): $28
Seniors (65+): $23
Children (3-12): $18
Children (2 and under): FREE
Members: FREE
Prices include tax as applicable
Parking is $12 year round

For general information visit torontozoo.com
Toronto Zoo is accredited by CAZA (Canada's Accredited Zoos and Aquariums). Look for this logo whenever you visit a Canadian zoo as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things. For more information, visit caza.ca .

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