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Panda Passage at the Calgary Zoo to open May 7

Click to play video: 'Panda Passage set to open in May 2018' Panda Passage set to open in May 2018
WATCH: Calgary Zoo animal curator Colleen Baird joins Global Calgary with details on how the new Panda Passage is set to open in May 2018 – Feb 12, 2018

The Calgary Zoo announced Monday that its giant panda habitat will open to the public on May 7.

The two adult pandas and two young pandas, Jian Panpan and Jia Yueyue, are expected to arrive in the city in March after five years in Toronto. They will spend the next five years in Calgary.

The zoo said the habitat – dubbed Panda Passage – took years of planning and resulted in $100 million in upgrades to the zoo.

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Click to play video: 'Watch baby pandas at Toronto Zoo take first steps' Watch baby pandas at Toronto Zoo take first steps
Watch baby pandas at Toronto Zoo take first steps – Feb 15, 2016

READ MORE: Calgary Zoo brings on team of experts as it prepares to welcome giant pandas

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“Not only is Panda Passage the most unique animal habitat we’ve ever created, but we’ve renovated every corner of the zoo,” Dr. Clément Lanthier said about the space.

“It’s very tropical, very lush,” added curator Colleen Baird. “Pandas need a lot of humidity, so we have a lot of humidity factors going on and trees and plants and greens.”

Baird said the zoo is putting the final touches on the habitat now before the animals arrive.

WATCH BELOW: Pandas celebrate their first birthday at the Toronto Zoo

Click to play video: 'Pandas celebrate their first birthday at the Toronto Zoo' Pandas celebrate their first birthday at the Toronto Zoo
Pandas celebrate their first birthday at the Toronto Zoo – Oct 13, 2016

READ MORE: Sneak peek at new Panda Passage at Calgary Zoo

Lanthier said the zoo expects to see a 25 per cent increase in visitors over the five years the pandas will be in Calgary.

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The zoo expects 1.5 million people will visit the pandas in their first full year in Calgary and that the black and white animals will “create an $18 million economic impact for Calgary.”

READ MORE: Calgary Zoo seeks $8M in funding from city for arrival of giant pandas

It said Monday that the panda habitat is the culmination of “four years of significant projects stretching across the zoo.”

Upgrades to the zoo included an $8 million lemur habitat in 2017, a new suspension bridge, updated food concessions and additions to prehistoric park and the Canadian Wilds habitat.

 

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