The much-maligned Toronto Zoo might have a couple of furry saviours on the way from the Far East. The zoo, which has suffered declining attendance the past two years along with budget cuts, seems to be on the verge of setting up a panda exhibit.
“The Prime Minister’s office through talks with our CEO John Tracogna said that they would be talking with the Chinese national government about loaning pandas to the Toronto Zoo,” Toronto city councillor and vice-chairman of the zoo board, John Ainslie, told the Toronto Sun. “If we can get that on the table, I’m very hopeful that something will be done with this trip that the Prime Minister is about to embark on and within the next couple years you’ll see pandas at the Toronto Zoo.”
“All we need is an acknowledgement from the Prime Minister’s office that they talked about this with the Chinese national government and they’ve got a signed document (saying) these are where your pandas are going to be coming from and we’ll get in touch with that zoo,” Ainslie explained.
The last time that the black and white bears were exhibited at the zoo was 14 years ago, and it proved to be a boon to attendance, something the facility desperately needs. And, perhaps most importantly, Ainslie believes that this can all be accomplished through private donations/sponsorships, without having to ask the city for money.
“I have little doubt we would see strong public-private support on this,” Ainslie told the Toronto Star.