Lifestyle & Belief

Toronto welcomes Chinese pandas for five-year stay (VIDEO)


Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks to reporters at the Chongqing zoo after announcing China is lending two panda bears to Canada.


Prime Minister's Office

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is in Toronto today to welcome two Chinese pandas who will stay at the Toronto Zoo for the next five years.

When their five years in Toronto are complete, the male and female pandas will move to the Calgary Zoo for another five-year stay.

More from GlobalPost: Harper's China trip ends with warm, fuzzies and pandas

There are high hopes that the couple, five-year-old female Er Shun and four-year-old male Da Mao, will produce offspring while in Toronto.

FedEx was in charge of transporting the giant pandas to Canada on an MD-11 plane that is being called the Panda Express. The company's Canadian president Lisa Lisson was interviewed live on CBC News Network Monday morning and said the pandas had adjusted well to their 15-hour flight.

"They look quite happy," Lisson said, referring to photos send via Twitter that show Da Mao eating bamboo inside the plane.

According to the Toronto Star, Harper was even asked to sign a document for "proof of delivery" like he would for any other type of shipment. The Toronto Zoo will pay a fee of $1 million a year for the panda couple, which will go to research and conservation in China. Annual expenses are expected to be $3 million, with the panda exhibit costing almost $8 million to build.