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|Families look at giant panda Da Mao at the Toronto Zoo in Toronto Cheap Ryan McDonagh Shirt , Canada, on May 18, 2013. Er Shun and Da Mao, the two giant pandas on a 10-year loan from China, made their first public appearance in their new home at the Toronto Zoo on Saturday. (XinhuaZhang Ziqian) Visitors pose with a giant panda model at the Toronto Zoo in Toronto, Canada, on May 18, 2013. Er Shun and Da Mao, the two giant pandas on a 10-year loan from China Cheap Pavel Buchnevich Jersey , made their first public appearance in their new home at the Toronto Zoo on Saturday. (XinhuaZhang Ziqian) The two giant pandas on a 10-year loan from China are living up to their rock-star status as they make their first public appearance in their new home at the Toronto Zoo on Saturday.
Thousands of panda lovers woke up bright and early in the morning to beat the crowds and get a glimpse of Er Shun and Da Mao. By Saturday noon, there were already long queues snaking around the exhibit.
"We left about 8:30 am this morning, we knew that the panda exhibit would be crazy on opening day and everything," said visitor Rachelle Roy.
Kathy Chau, who was visiting Toronto with her family from Germany, said they didn't want to miss out on the once-in-a- lifetime opportunity.
"They're really cute, and it's good for a little boy to see ' cause I don't know when or if we'll ever get to China to see them there," she said.
While most were there to enjoy the exhibit with their family on the opening day, elementary school teacher Kerri-Ann Sagert was already planning field trips for her students.
"I'm a teacher Cheap Brady Skjei Jersey , so will definitely be bringing the kids to see the pandas," said Sagert, who explained that they've been following the pandas' journey very closely at school. "What a great experience, what a great connection between China and Canada, bringing relations, the world even closer."
Touted as a symbol of the growing friendship between China and Canada, the pair have received extraordinary fanfare the moment they arrived in the Canadian city of Toronto.
When they first touched down in March, they received a warm welcome on the tarmac by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and hundreds of dignitaries. Er Shun and Da Mao went into a month-long quarantine immediately after they landed, and have been hidden from public view until now.
The unveiling has been a three-day ordeal for the zoo's new celebrities. Ramping up to their official public appearance on Saturday Cheap Rick Nash Jersey , the zoo has given VIPs and zoo members an exclusive tour of the new exhibit in order to ease the traffic.
The Toronto Zoo generally gets about 12,000 to 14,000 visitors on a busy day, but with the popularity of the two giant pandas, a much higher volume of visitors are expected to pass through the gates this weekend.
Most of the visitors will be there especially to meet the two bamboo-eating animals that have captured the hearts of many across the country.
It's been a long journey for Er Shun and Da Mao, but the pair seems to have adapted to their new environment without skipping a beat, according to William Rapley, the zoo's executive director of conservation, education and wildlife.
As soon as they arrived Cheap David Desharnais Jersey , their distinct personalities were immediately apparent, he said.
"Da Mao, he's like a rock star. He just comes out, and he looks around and he sees all these people here and he just sits there and watches everybody, eats his bamboo," Rapley described the four- year-old male giant panda. "He's really cool and interacts with the public."
The five-year-old Er Shun, however, seems to be the introvert of the two. Raised by a mum, the female panda is much shier Cheap Michael Grabner Jersey , and more cautious than her prospective partner.
"Er Shun was very much more secretive, kind of quiet," said Rapley.
But that's slowly starting to change, he added.
"Today even, we noticed her behavior, she's sitting up, she's interacting with the people, getting used to her new exhibit," he noted. "She's doing quite well actually Cheap Kevin Shattenkirk Jersey , her behavior's changing a little bit, she's becoming a little bit more open."
Excited fans wasted no time. They spent every little moment they could get with the pandas, as they gasped and snapped away on their cameras every time the pandas moved. And Er Shun and Da Mao didn't disappoint. They put on a show for their audience, either munching away on their bamboo, or sprawling out across their new home to take their frequent naps.
While some initially believed the pair would be living together in one enclosure, Dan Pearson, the zoo's acting wildlife care supervisor, said that's not going to be the case. So far, the pair hasn't officially met yet Cheap Chris Kreider Jersey , when they do though, it'll only be for short intervals each time.
"Back in '85, we had pandas for a few months, they were together all the time," he said. "But it's been found that they, like some other animals, they reproduce better when you keep them apart and just throw them together when the female goes into heat. "
But there'll be plenty of space for the two to play around in, and tons for visitors to see. The two-acre exhibit includes an outdoor display area, two enclosures in the indoor viewing area Cheap Marc Staal Jersey , and an 8,000 square feet interpretive Centre featuring interactive graphics and videos to teach people everything about pandas' diet, their habitat and unique characteristics.
Tony Reich, whose firm was hired to design the exhibit, said it all came together within 12 short months, after Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the 10-year panda loan during his visit to China last year.
"They're expecting a lot of people here, up to 10,000 people here a day, so it's been a very challenging project Cheap Kevin Hayes Jersey ," said Reich. "I think the important part was providing information so that people really understand issues around conservation."
The pair will be calling Toronto home for the next five years before heading to the Calga
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