Shepreth wildlife park welcomes endangered red pandas

PUBLISHED: 15:03 13 September 2014

One of Shepreth Wildlife Park's red pandas gets settled in to its new home

One of Shepreth Wildlife Park's red pandas gets settled in to its new home

Archant

A wildlife park welcomed two new arrivals – a pair of endangered red pandas.

The female pandas, who have yet to be named, arrived at Shepreth Wildlife Park last week as part of the European Endangered Breeding Programme.

A native species of the Himalayas, it is thought there are only 10,000 of the animals left in the wild.

Rebecca Willers, the wildlife park’s curator, said: “I remember as a child my father talking about red pandas as a species he wanted to be involved with for conservation, so it is wonderful that while we celebrate our 30th anniversary, this long-term goal has finally come to fruition.

“We have evolved from a rescue centre over the years into a centre fully committed to education and conservation of endangered species.”

Though not closely related to the giant panda, the red pandas take their name from their love of bamboo. A special enclosure has been constructed at the park where they can live in comfort.

Once the creatures reach maturity, one will be swapped with a male from another collection to help with the breeding programme.

They will be unveiled to the public at 1pm on Saturday,, with Emmerdale star Jason Merrells and his partner, actress Emma Lowndes, set to attend as special guests.

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