Every year, more and more animals are being put on the endangered species list. One Canadian zoo, in particular, is trying to combat the endangered species list by implementing its first ever planned breeding program. In order to save giant pandas, the Calgary Zoo has planned a breeding program for their resident female panda. According to the zoo, this planned breeding cycle will help conserve the species of the giant pandas.
The Calgary Zoo is home to some very special guests. Er Shun, Da Mao and their cubs Jia Panpan and Jia Yueyue are endangered species. These giant pandas will now be part of a scheduled breeding program aimed at raising the number of giant pandas in the world.
Earlier today, the Calgary Zoo announced that their resident female panda Er Shun is ready to breed. According to the Calgary Zoo, this planned breeding will aid in the conservation of giant pandas.
Now that Er Shun is in the early stages of her breeding cycle, a collaborative program will be launching. This program will work over the next few weeks and will involve hormone monitoring and artificial insemination.
Throughout the process, Er Shun will be monitored carefully during her breeding as successful breeding does not always happen. In order to ensure she receives the best care with the highest turnout, the Calgary Zoo will work alongside veterinary teams and a panda reproductive specialist from China.
According to Dr. Clément Lanthier, President and CEO of the Calgary Zoo, hosting and breeding these vulnerable animals will be a great opportunity to engage the community and visitors of the zoo. Last year, 1.5 million guests came to see these giant creatures.
"We believe that small actions often lead to big changes that help sustain the incredible biodiversity on the planet," said Lanthier.
This is the first time the Calgary Zoo has done a planned breeding program for giant pandas. If Er Shun is successful in getting pregnant, the zoo will contribute $1.4 million to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in China for every year she stays at the zoo.
According to a media relations personnel with the Calgary Zoo, Er Shun is expected to stay at the zoo for five years. The money to be donated from her stay will go towards supporting conservation initiatives like breeding, habitat protection, reintroduction science, and research.
Giant pandas are known as an “umbrella species.” This means they are a species that is selected for making conservation-related decisions. When you protect umbrella species you also protect many other species that makeup and share the habitat they live in.
With fewer than 1,800 left in the wild, there is a strong need to conserve the giant pandas.
According to the zoo, the giant pandas biggest threat to life is habitat destruction. In the last 50 years, more than half the gift panda population has been lost.