Canada pandas running on empty as bamboo dries up

File: The pandas each require around 40 kilograms of fresh bamboo daily.

File: The pandas each require around 40 kilograms of fresh bamboo daily.

Reuters/Axel Schmidt

OTTAWA - A pair of pandas on loan from China to a Canadian zoo are facing a food shortage as their supply of fresh bamboo dries up, officials warned.

Plans to send them back to China, where bamboo is abundant and easy to access, according to a Calgary Zoo statement, have been stalled by pandemic-era changes to import and quarantine regulations.

Er Shun, a female, and Da Mao, a male, each require around 40 kilograms of fresh bamboo daily.

Calgary Zoo turned to farms in British Columbia for a temporary domestic supply after international borders were closed in a bid to limit the spread of COVID-19.

READ: Canada zoo to send pandas home after bamboo shortage

But that supply will run out in September, it said.

The zoo has been unable to secure travel permits from China, and last week expressed "increasing concerns for the giant pandas' well-being."

"To date, China has not been able to approve international permits due to changes in its import laws and quarantine facilities due to COVID-19," zoo president Clement Lanthier said in a statement.

"The continued delays in international permitting is putting the health and welfare of these two beautiful giant pandas in jeopardy."

Source
AFP