Let the Play Begin
Red Pandas Get Ready for Courtship
Although the red panda may look like a mixture of a raccoon and a bear, visitors can actually find the mammals in the Kovler Lion House. And while its name might suggest a relationship with the black-and-white giant panda, the species has been placed in its own unique family.
Red pandas have become endangered in their native homes of China, Nepal, India, Burma and Bhutan due to poaching and loss of bamboo and evergreen forest habitats. However red pandas at the zoo still enjoy plenty of bamboo eating and tree climbing since Lincoln Park Zoo participates in the Red Panda Species Survival Plan®, a shared conservation effort by zoos throughout the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
Visitors who want to catch a glimpse of these cute creatures will most likely have to look up, since they can usually be found climbing the trees of their exhibit. “The red pandas are especially active in the morning, exploring their environment and foraging for bamboo,” explains Mark Kamhout, zoological manager of Regenstein African Journey and carnivores.
Guests can expect to see the male and female, Tarrei and Porrin, chasing and following one another as they get ready for the breeding process recommended by the Species Survival Plan. Since the pair already knew each other before arriving at the zoo in fall 2011, zoo officials have hopes of someday welcoming a baby red panda.
by Cassie Stein
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