Newly Added Red Pandas at Wildlife Safari
Two red pandas recently joined Wildlife Safari in July. They are both in the village as new additions and a fun sight to see for most people. Remi and Freddie are their names, and they’re both 2-year-old males from the Virginia Zoo and are a part of the Species Survival Plan, which involves a group of wildlife parks who work together to help save animals on the verge of extinction.
The Association of Zoos and Aquariums says that the Species Survival Plan is a program equipped to overlook the management of the population of select species and to encourage conservation of the species in the wild. SSP’s main mission is to make sure endangered wildlife gets the help it needs and deserves, according to their website.
Hundreds of people have been coming to visit the red pandas since they arrived. The excitement about the new additions has sparked lots of questions about them. “This is the first time Wildlife Safari has ever had red pandas,” Kat Emanuel, who works in the village, said. “This whole structure had to be built.”
Wildlife Safari completely took out the old vulture structure and added elements like bamboo, higher perches, and installed air conditioning to make sure the pandas stay cold, similar to their original habitat. The habitat now looks like a comfortable place for them to play, climb and eat in peace. They have plenty of room to run around as well as to explore.
Will Remi and Freddie stay in their current habitat at Wildlife Safari? “Yep! That is the plan for them to stay here,” Emanuel said.
Freddie is known to be more shy while Remi gets more excited about food whenever he sees caretakers come by, plus he is really curious about many things. Emanuel added that one of the most unusual or quirky things about Remie and Freddie is that they stand tall and puff out their chests to seem intimidating when impatient. Emanuel went on to say that Remi is currently being trained to paint on canvases.
Although in places like Nepal, India, China, and Bhutan, where red pandas are from, they are being legally protected, the species is still endangered as there are less than 2,500 left. The rich bamboo in their natural habitats they need are also considered endangered ─ their food sources are being taken away. Habitat loss is connected to farming, grazing livestock, logging, and high demands for firewood, according to Emanuel.
Red pandas are currently the only species remaining in what’s called the taxonomic family, which is a living relic of the past, so the pair are being treated very carefully. “We don’t have volunteers helping care for them, but we do have an intern program,” Emanuel said. Internships can be a steady first step into having a job at Wildlife Safari and gaining experience. The intern program, which is helpful for people to get hands on experience with caring for wildlife, takes place in the village and helps give many opportunities and chances to gain knowledge about animals. “Our interns that are going to be staying for six months can be trained on doing their husbandry,” Emanuel said. By gaining husbandry knowledge, volunteers learn about the care, breeding, and cultivation of animals.
Red pandas play an important role and saving them also means helping to preserve the world’s natural heritage and biodiversity.
For more information about red pandas, contact Sara Healas Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (541) 679-676, ext. 219.
If interested in the Wildlife Safari internship opportunities, go to their website to learn more.
To further know about what to do in order to help red pandas and donate to conserve them, visit the red panda network website.
Contact me at:
For more articles by Emily Willis please click here.