Sun, Jul 20, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Red panda debuts at Taipei Zoo

Staff writer, with CNA

A red panda, also called the lesser panda, is pictured in an undated photograph. Huan Huan, one of three red pandas obtained from China’s Fujian Province, made its public debut at the Taipei Zoo yesterday.

Photo: CNA, provided by Taipei Zoo

One of three red pandas obtained from China’s Fujian Province made its public debut at the Taipei Zoo yesterday.

Children thronging in front of the animal’s enclosure were elated to see Huan Huan (歡歡), peeping out from behind a bush.

“There he is, how lovely he is,” they shouted in excitement.

Huan Huan, the only male of the trio, adapted to the new environment more quickly than the others, so he was the first to meet the public, the zoo said.

Huan Huan, weighing in at 4.7kg, is getting along well with his keeper, the zoo said, adding that his diet consists of bamboo, carrot, steamed cornbread and apple.

The animal appeared to be curious about his new environment and explored every corner of his enclosure.

He was also seen to be marking his territory.

Because red pandas dislike the heat and cannot tolerate excessively cold weather, the zoo sprinkles mist in the enclosure to maintain an ideal temperature and also has air conditioning for the animal’s indoor areas.

The three red pandas arrived on June 6, but had been quarantined after their arrival.

They were bred by a research center in Fujian and given to the Taipei Zoo to promote breeding cooperation and help Taiwanese to understand the efforts made by China in wildlife protection.

The Taipei Zoo has been trying to breed red pandas for the past 20-odd years, but the attempts have never succeeded.

Red pandas, or Ailurus fulgens, are similar in shape to raccoons and have mostly dark-brown fur.

They spend most of the day sleeping in trees, becoming more active in the late afternoon and early evening.

The red panda is a second-class protected animal in China. It is endemic to southern China and the temperate forests of Nepal, Bhutan, India, Laos and Myanmar.

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