25 Jun 2018

The one-year-old male, Koda, arrived from a zoo in Cornwall after being chosen as the perfect match for Nima, the zoo’s resident female! These adorable Red Pandas have been slowly introduced to one another by the zoo’s expert team who hope that they will get along famously and produce cubs in the future.

Peek-a-boo: Koda the red panda explores his new home at Chester Zoo!

Tim Rowlands, Curator of Mammals at Chester Zoo, said:

Our new little arrival, Koda, spent the first few days exploring his new home, climbing trees and chewing his way through lots of bamboo! He’s settled in really well. Although slightly shy at the beginning, he soon built up enough confidence to introduce himself to our resident female, Nima – which is a really encouraging sign. His genetics are absolutely vital to the future conservation breeding of red pandas, as habitat loss, the illegal wildlife trade and poaching pushes their numbers to a new low in the wild. Hopefully, Koda and Nima go on to have a furry family of their own together, helping to boost those numbers just that little bit more.

Red pandas are native to the mountainous regions of Nepal, India, Bhutan, Myanmar and southern China. But now, numbers in the wild are estimated to be fewer than 10,000 – a 40% decline over the past 50 years.

Conservationists at Chester Zoo have called for visitors to help fight the illegal wildlife trade that is driving species to extinction globally. Public are asked to report any suspicious activity they may spot, online or on holiday, via Chester Zoo’s online illegal wildlife trade reporting form.

Chester Zoo is also fighting for the future of red pandas through habitat-focused conservation projects in the Sichuan Mountains of China, where they can be found among the bamboo forests. In China red pandas are known as ‘firefoxes’ and are in fact, the original panda. The species was discovered 50 years before the giant panda and share the name because of a common ancestor that lived millions of years ago.

Red panda fast facts

  • Red pandas are also known as the lesser panda, the red bear-cat, and the red cat-bear
  • An average adult will be 50-64cm in length and will weigh 3-6kg
  • At first glance red pandas look similar to racoons, having long, bushy tails, patterned with 12 alternating rich red and buff coloured rings
  • Their range is known to cover Nepal, India, Bhutan, Myanmar and southern China
  • Red pandas are listed as vulnerable to extinction by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) red list of threatened species
  • Recent estimates suggest there are only 10,000 individuals left in the wild