Woodland Park Zoo’s new red panda, who arrived in February from Lincoln Children’s Zoo in Nebraska, is now on exhibit in the Wildlife Survival Zone. Carson was named after Tonight Show host Johnny Carson.
Currently, the zoo’s other male red panda, 10-year-old Yukiko, and Stellar, the zoo’s 8-year-old female red panda, live off exhibit where the two can spend time together through the breeding season and beyond. The zoo hopes for a baby red panda in the near future.
Red pandas share the name of giant pandas, but more closely resemble raccoons. While scientists still debate which family red pandas belong to — raccoons or giant pandas — recent studies suggest that they are equally related to three different groups of animals that include skunks, weasels and raccoons.
In the wild, fewer than 10,000 red pandas remain in their native habitat of bamboo forests in China, the Himalayas and Myanmar, and share part of their range with giant pandas. Their numbers are declining due to deforestation, increased agriculture and cattle grazing, and continuing pressure from growing local populations.
In the wild, red pandas primarily eat bamboo shoots and leaves, grasses, roots, fruits, lichens and acorns. They occasionally eat insects, eggs, young birds and small rodents. At the zoo, red pandas are fed leaf-eater biscuits, bamboo, and various fruits and berries.