Red Pandas – Zoo’s Winter Visitors

Saturday, November 11, 2017 — Sunday, March 18, 2018
9:00 am — 4:00 am

On Wednesday, December 13, Reid Park Zoo welcomed the second red panda, named Lhotse (Loht-sey), to Tucson. Under the recommendation of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP), Lhotse will join the female red panda, Princess Lily, in Tucson before they transfer to another AZA-accredited Zoo in Utah this coming spring.   

“We are excited to be hosting these red pandas and to support the conservation efforts of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). This is the first time red pandas have been displayed in Arizona and we would like to generously thank the Tucson Parks Foundation who sponsored this Zoo habitat,” said Jason Jacobs, Reid Park Zoo Administrator.

Upon arrival in Tucson, Lhotse was given time to acclimate to the habitat prior to being introduced to Princess Lily.

“Their first introduction was as expected,” said Dr. Sue Tygielski, Reid Park Zoo’s General Curator. “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.” 

Zoo visitors can expect to see the red pandas in their temporary habitat within Tropical Trail until March of 2018 when they will move to their permanent habitat in Utah. The habitat in Tucson includes three denning boxes and ample climbing branches to provide significant panda friendly paths for them to explore. Our unique climate provides a comfortable winter habitat for the species throughout the winter. 

More Information About Red Pandas:

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.