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Roses are red, violets are blue, red pandas are back at Edinburgh Zoo!

14/02/2017 in Edinburgh Zoo

Romance is in the air at the Zoo, with the arrival of new couple Bruce and Ginger. After an eight-year break, red pandas have made a very welcome return to RZSS Edinburgh Zoo, thanks to funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

Male red panda, Bruce - RZSS

Bruce was the first red panda to arrive last year and was housed in a temporary home whilst finishing touches were being made to his and Ginger’s new home. Ginger, the young female red panda, arrived on Sunday from the Netherlands and quickly got settled into her new home right at the front of the Zoo.

The pair are side by side at the minute in separate enclosures but, once they have had a chance to fully settle in and get used to their surroundings, keepers will begin the introduction process, putting the two in together. The pairing of the two red pandas is incredibly important as red pandas are now more threated than their famous counterparts, giant pandas, following the recent reclassification of giant pandas from endangered to vulnerable.

Red pandas are listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List, their global population estimated to be lower than 10,000 individuals and continuing to decline as a result of habitat loss and fragmentation, as well as poaching and accidental trapping. Conservation charity the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) makes annual species support payments to the Red Panda Endangered Species Programme Forest Guardian Support Programme, which protects red pandas in their native habitats in the wild. 

Female red panda, Ginger - RZSS

Darren McGarry, Head of Living Collections at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo, said: “We are delighted to have red pandas back at the Zoo and it’s wonderful that Ginger arrived just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Not only will it be great for visitors to see them again, but the new couple will help play a vital role in the conservation of this increasingly threatened species. Through the European Endangered Species Programme we hope to breed Bruce and Ginger, creating a safety-net population which will ensure they do not become extinct in the wild.

“We’ve already seen how conservation efforts have helped increase the giant panda population, so we hope to be able to do the same for other species such as the red panda. We are incredibly grateful to players of People’s Postcode Lottery for the surprise additional £25,000 funding in 2016, which has allowed us to create this new enclosure, bring red pandas back to the Zoo and play a role in their conservation.”

In addition to the £25,000 additional funding which has helped renovate the red pandas’ new enclosure, players of People’s Postcode Lottery have awarded RZSS £1 million to date, which has enabled the Society to carry out its conservation work across Scotland and in over 20 countries around the world.

Clara Govier, Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, said: “As People’s Postcode Lottery continues to grow the amount that our players award to good causes continues to increase. We are very proud that our players can continue to support the development of fantastic causes, including the new red panda enclosure at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo.”

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