Back to articles Meet the Giant Panda Cubs at the Toronto Zoo

Categories: Family Fun

I was thrilled to be invited to a media preview to see the famous Giant Panda Cubs. They are a huge success story for the Toronto Zoo's breeding program and I think all Canadians have completely fallen in love with them. Yesterday their names were finally revealed after the Toronto Zoo held a contest to choose them: the boy is Jia Panpan (meaning Canadian Hope in Chinese) and the girl is Jia Yueyue (meaning Canadian Joy in Chinese). #TOPandaCubs

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When I arrived in the morning, I was slightly disappointed to see that the pandas were fast asleep. They were still cute, but not overly interesting to watch. In fact, they reminded me of those fuzzy little caterpillars all curled up in a ball. They looked very comfortable in their "playpen" in the enclosure.

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So I was excited to see two animal keepers enter the enclosure, carrying baby bottles. They woke the sleeping cubs up and started feeding them. The cubs were just like little babies, sucking away anxiously at the formula in their bottles.


Jia Panpan finished first and the keeper proceeded to "burp" him then they had a wee cuddle together.

The cubs were born on October 13, 2015 and are now 5 months old and growing and developing quickly. The Toronto Zoo produced a video showcasing the cub's first 100 days. You can watch it here on Youtube.

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After being fed, Er Shun (the mom) came out and the cubs had some playtime (and more snoozing) while she snacked on bamboo.

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Da Mao

Don't forget to visit Da Mao (the dad) who can usually be found outside, once you've had the chance to see the cubs. He will most likely be eating or sleeping! Pandas eat a vast amount of bamboo every day. Since they cannot digest cellulose (the main component of bamboo), to get enough nutrition they must consume a large volume of stems and leaves. So a panda spends most of the day eating and the rest of the day sitting and digesting!

Giant panda cubs Jia Panpan & Jia Yueyue will be on exhibit to the public this March Break beginning Saturday, March 12, 2016 through Sunday, March 20, 2016 from 9:30 am to 6:00 pm daily*. This schedule is subject to change as there may be times when the cubs are brought inside the giant panda house to enable our Veterinary and Wildlife Care teams to continue to closely monitor their progress. Since the cubs are still quite young, they require a lot of sleep and they usually nap after they have had some playtime following each meal. While we encourage visitors to come and meet our giant panda cubs, we also ask that they respect their "quiet times". Growing pandas need their rest!

*Public viewing times for the giant panda cubs will vary after March Break, please check out for details. Subject to change without notice.

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March Break is a great time to get your kids outside and get active, especially if they've been cooped up inside for most of the winter.

The Toronto Zoo is the perfect place to do just that, with over 10 km of walking trails in an area that is 287 hectares-- it's one of the largest zoos in the world. And they've got some great March Break programming happening this week.

Join them this March Break and visit with some their newest, and most adorable, Zoo family members including their four playful male white lion cubs, female polar bear cub, male rhino calf and Canada's first giant panda cubs*. While here, take in one of our free Keeper Talks or visit one of their Volunteer Interpretive Stations and discover more about our important conservation programs and how you can become a species protector!

*NOTE: Cub viewing times will be listed, daily, on Subject to change without notice.