Arun, the Greater Vancouver Zoo’s male Red Panda, made his way out Tuesday, Oct. 13, to explore his new outdoor enclosure at the Aldergrove zoo.
“It was a very exciting time for Arun and we were thrilled with his keen interest of this new home, behaviour and health,” said zoo general manager Jody Henderson.
Arun arrived in June from the Assiniboine Zoo in Winnipeg as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival program (SSP). The SSP program helps the survival of species that are threatened or endangered in the wild by maintaining genetic diversity through managed breeding programs.
The Red Panda is not closely related to the Giant Panda and in fact, it is not even a panda at all. It is believed the Red Panda was given the name “panda” which derived from the Nepalese words “nigalya ponya” meaning “bamboo eater.” These little guys are so unique they are in a family classification all of their own called Ailuridae.
Red Pandas are listed as endangered as the population is estimated at less than 10,000 individuals, with a continuing decline of greater than 10 percent over the next three generations (estimated at 30 years) due to poaching and habitat loss.
It had taken over two years for the Greater Vancouver Zoo to qualify for participation in the SSP for Red Pandas. Through population management and conservation efforts such as public education, research, reintroduction and field conservation programs that are supported by the SSP program the zoo can assure a sustainable future for animals that are currently being threatened in the wild.
Endangered Red Panda has new home at the Greater Vancouver Zoo.