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Welcome Yukiko, the new male red panda

Posted by Gigi Allianic, Communications

We’ve got a new arrival to the Temperate Forest… he’s got a fiery red coat and his name is Yukiko! 

As part of Woodland Park Zoo’s preventive care program, our veterinary team performed a full physical examination of Yukiko including his weight, blood work and radiographs.

“We are pleased overall with his weight and blood work and he appears to be in good shape,” said Dr. Darin Collins, director of Woodland Park Zoo’s Animal Health Programs.  Photo by Ryan Hawk, Woodland Park Zoo.
Yukiko during his preventative exam. Photo by Ryan Hawk, Woodland Park Zoo.
Dr. Darin Collins checks out Yukiko's teeth and gums. Photo by Ryan Hawk, Woodland Park Zoo.
The 9-year-old panda arrived under the Red Panda Species Survival Plan conservation breeding program from Red River Zoo in Fargo, N.D. Yukiko will be paired up with our female, 7-year-old Stellar, in the hopes that they hit it off. The breeding season for red pandas occurs from early January to early March so Yukiko will remain off exhibit as he goes through a series of introductions to Stellar. The introductions will take place in off-view dens and both animals will remain off view until April.

There is currently no test available to determine pregnancy in a red panda. However, ultrasound and behavioral changes can help indicate a pregnancy. “Thanks to the dedication and innovation of our red panda keepers, Stellar has been successfully trained for ultrasound procedures. “During ultrasounds, Stellar perches on a T-stand, made by our lead panda keeper, and is treated to a bowl of blueberries and leaf-eater biscuits soaked in apple juice. Her willingness to cooperate will help us monitor her pregnancy,” explains curator Mark Myers.

Stellar practices her blueberry munching with help from keeper John Samaras while vet tech Barb Brush performs a test ultrasound. Photo by Kirsten Pisto, Woodland Park Zoo.
Stellar really likes blueberries! She knows just what to do with the T-stand. Photo by Kirsten Pisto, Woodland Park Zoo.
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. Woodland Park Zoo supports the Red Panda Network, whose multi-prong approach aims to conserve this flagship species in Nepal. To help support the project, adopt a red panda through the zoo’s ZooParent Adoption Program.

We'll keep you posted on any red panda developments!


Anonymous said…
How cool! I love the red pandas!!