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Rare red panda added to zoo collection

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[July 05, 2012]  BLOOMINGTON -- An endangered red panda is the latest arrival at Miller Park Zoo.

A 1-year-old female from the National Zoo's Conservation and Research Center joins the 3-year-old male at Miller Park Zoo to establish a breeding pair. The zoo hopes that this new breeding pair will produce cubs as early as next spring.

Red pandas are unique-looking creatures, with long tails that range between 12 and 20 inches, reddish-brown hair and a dark-colored underside.

"The red panda stands out in many ways with distinctive coat coloring," said Jay Tetzloff, the zoo superintendent. "Most animals have a light-colored underside, but the red pandas have a blacking color coat on the underside and a lighter coat on top. Their faces are lightly colored with ‘tear-marking.' They also have distinctive, bushy ringed tails."

Breeding programs are an important part of the Miller Park Zoo mission and play a vital part in the conservation mission of programs in the Species Survival Plan.

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According to the World Wildlife Fund, red pandas are "highly endangered," a distinction given to the species since 1988. Deforestation in China and Nepal has been shrinking the natural habitat of the red panda.

During the summertime, the best viewing hours for zoo guests to see the red pandas are in the morning, when the animals are more active. Miller Park Zoo is open to guests at 9:30 a.m.

[Text from Miller Park Zoo file received from Bloomington Parks & Recreation]


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