Meet Leela, our new female red panda. She arrived March 7th from the Indianapolis Zoo. She was born at the Oklahoma City Zoo and she will turn 3 years old in June.
Leela had her first meeting with Damien, Pueblo Zoo's male red panda, yesterday in an off exhibit. Their introduction went well and consisted of stares, sniffs, and markings. Keeper staff decided to keep the pandas together because the breeding season ends in March. Both pandas will be on exhibit at the red panda enclosure.
Red pandas are native to the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China. In the wild, It feeds mainly on bamboo, but is omnivorous and may also eat eggs, birds, insects, and small mammals.
The red panda has been classified as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Although red pandas are protected by national laws in their range countries, their numbers in the wild continue to decline because of deforestation and poaching.
Pueblo Zoo's red pandas are part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan (SSP). SSP programs focus on animals that are in danger of extinction in the wild. These programs help maintain healthy and genetically diverse animal populations within the zoo community.
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