Marwell Zoo has welcomed a new animal to its park – a male red panda.
The three-year-old, called Peter, joined last month from a zoo in the Netherlands as part of the European Endangered Species breeding Programme (EEP).
He has joined the zoo’s female red panda Mei Mei in a new enclosure.
Marwell Zoo keeper Carrie Arnold said: ‘Peter has settled in really well to his new home with Mei Mei. They don’t seem fazed by one another and Peter has done a lot of relaxing and snoozing, which is what we’d expected.
‘Red panda breed once per year between January and mid-March, so we’re not anticipating any panda cubs soon, but we’re obviously hopeful for the future.
‘During breeding season typical behaviour includes a lot of scent marking, with males staying in close proximity to the female until the female is receptive to a male’s advances, so we’ll be on the lookout for more interaction between them next year.’
Where are red pandas usually found?
Endangered red pandas are found in Nepal, India and Bhutan, as well as in China and Myanmar.
They prefer to live in forests with a bamboo thicket – often on the edges of mountain sides – where they can easily access the bamboo.
The new enclosure at Marwell is designed to replicate a red panda’s natural habitat, with lots of planted bamboo and thick low-lying bushes.