Giant pandas Panpan (right) and Yueyue are shown in a January 2019 handout photo from the Calgary Zoo. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Calgary Zoo)

Giant panda pair born at Canadian zoo return to China

Jia Panpan and Jia Yueyue arrived safely at a research facility in the southwestern city of Chengdu

The first giant panda twins born in Canada have safely arrived in the land of their roots.

The Calgary Zoo says Jia Panpan and Jia Yueyue are exploring their new panda pad at a breeding research facility in Chengdu, China.

The zoo says the pandas — whose names mean Canadian Hope and Canadian Joy — left Calgary on a flight early Friday with their keeper and a member of the facility’s veterinary team.

Their caregivers from Chengdu flew to Calgary last year to meet them and get to know their routines.

The pandas were born at the Toronto Zoo in 2015 and were transferred to Calgary with their parents in March 2018, as part of a 10-year agreement between Canada and China.

Parents Er Shun and Da Mao are to remain in Calgary until 2023.

The young pandas were to leave in October, but that was delayed by international permitting and air transport challenges.

“We’re proud to have contributed to panda research and conservation for their two-year stay with us,” Jamie Dorgan, the Calgary Zoo’s director of animal care, said in a statement Monday.

“Jia Panpan and Jia Yueyue will be deeply missed by our staff, volunteers, community and indeed people right across North America who visited them during their stay in Canada.”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Grand Forks community centre open house set for Jan. 23 at the aquatic centre

Designers and the development committee will be at the aquatic centre from 4 to 7 p.m. on Jan. 23

OPINION: Reflecting on a Greaser’s last words

What it means to stay gold and to look for the gold in others

Border Bruins fall after roller-coaster week

Border Bruins beat the Nelson Leafs on Jan. 14 in overtime, then fell 10-4 to them on Sunday

Ktunaxa, supporters celebrate protection of Qat’muk and the Jumbo valley

Speeches, acknowledgements and ceremonies mark an emotional gathering in Cranbrook

Hwy 3 to close for avalanche control on Jan. 19

The road is expected to be closed from noon to 3 p.m.

Boy, 13, arrested after alleged assault involving girl at B.C. middle school

Boy alleged to have used ‘inappropriate levels of force’ to injure the girl

Canadian law firm launches class action on behalf of Iran flight victims

Flight 752 was shot down by Iran shortly after take off

Mission Hill cellarman fired after mistakenly dumping $162K of wine down the drain

The former employee filed a grievance with the West Kelowna winery but was unsuccesful

B.C. player becomes only second Canadian to enter Hall of Fame of Baseball

Walker received 76.6 percent of the Baseball Writers of America Association vote

WATCH: Protesters block entrance to Victoria government building to support Wet’suwet’en First Nation

A letter with four demands was delivered to the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources

Hospital patient pleads guilty to dumbbell assault of nurse in Abbotsford

Neale Heath admits to assault causing bodily harm in attack last September

‘Epic sky palace’: B.C. businesses help create dream treehouse for boy recovering from cancer

‘It was kind of a bright shining beacon at the end of a horrible, dark tunnel’

VIDEO: Nickelback gears up for nostalgia tour

Canadian band joins Stone Temple Pilots for a summer tour that includes just one stop in Canada

Most Read