Reid Park Zoo welcomes second Red Panda as winter visitor

Reid Park Zoo welcomes second Red Panda as winter visitor
Lhotse and Princess Lily in their temporary habitat at Reid Park Zoo. (Source: Reid Park Zoo)
Lhotse and Princess Lily in their temporary habitat at Reid Park Zoo. (Source: Reid Park Zoo)

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - There is a new winter resident at the Reid Park Zoo, Lhotse a male Red Panda.

Lhotse traveled to Arizona from the Oklahoma City Zoo and will be sharing an enclosure with Princess Lily for a short time before the pair is transferred to another Association of Zoos and Aquariums accredited zoo in Utah in the spring.

According to Reid Park Zoo officials, after the 3-year-old Red Panda arrived in Tucson he was given a short time to acclimate to the habitat, before he was introduced to Princess Lily.

"Their first introduction was as expected," said Dr. Sue Tygielski, Reid Park Zoo's General Curator, in a recent news release. "It is very common for red pandas to do short chases, followed by one panda often jumping onto the other with a quick roll.  Red pandas do not injure one another in these squabbles but are establishing themselves as they become acquainted. When first introduced, this is exactly what we saw. Our Animal Care Team will continue to monitor the pair to ensure they are both comfortable during their stay at Reid Park Zoo."

The pair will be on exhibit, within the Tropical Trail until March 2018, when they will be transferred to their permanent habitat in Utah. The pair's temporary home at Reid Park consists of three denning boxes and ample climbing branches to provide significant panda friendly paths for them to explore.

Red pandas are tree-dwelling animals native to the subtropical forests of the Himalayan Mountains in Nepal, India, China, Bhutan and Myanmar. They were actually the first panda discovered,  nearly 40 years prior to giant pandas. Slightly larger than a domestic cat, red pandas weigh approximately 11 pounds as adults. They consume two to four pounds of bamboo a day, but they also enjoy fruit and insects. 

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