We are thrilled to announce the arrival of a fluffy new addition who has already stolen the hearts of people around the world.
Tashi, an endangered red panda, is settling into his new home at Marwell Zoo after arriving from Paradise Wildlife Park in Hertfordshire today. The cub’s father, Nam Pang, sadly died a month before Tashi was born. Parents, Nam Pang and Tilly, were part of an international breeding programme and had been together four years without success.
However, keepers were thrilled when, shortly after the sad loss of Nam Pang, Tilly started exhibiting nesting behaviours. The little cub emerged shortly afterwards. The tiny cub was affectionately nicknamed Little Red by keepers before being given his official name and news of his “miracle arrival” made international headlines.
Tashi is Nepalese for “good luck” or “good fortune” and was chosen by a public vote which raised funds for red panda conservation. The youngster known for his cheeky antics, even has his own fanbase and has played an important role in raising awareness for the species.
Amy Denny, Animal Team Leader, said: “We are beyond excited to welcome Tashi to Marwell. The primates and small mammals team have been working hard to get his habitat ready for him and we can’t wait to get to know him.
“Red pandas have always been a very special part of the Marwell family and we are thrilled to have the species back for guests to enjoy and learn about. We will be keeping everyone updated with how Tashi settles into his new home but be sure to come and visit him during his feeding time”.
In the wild, red pandas are solitary animals that live in the trees of the Himalayas seeking out a mate during breeding season once a year. The species is classified as Endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List with populations continuing to decline.
It is thought that in the last 18 years, red panda populations have decreased by 50% with fewer than 10,000 left in the wild. Young stay with the mother to learn survival skills such as how to feed themselves until they are around a year old.
Tashi was born at Paradise Wildlife Park last July and is now settling into Marwell where he will live alone for the time being.
Make sure you download the free Marwell Zoo app for red panda feeding times as these should be a good time to see Tashi in action.
Did you know?
- Red pandas are classified as carnivores but their diet is almost entirely made up of bamboo – they eat around 200,000 bamboo leaves a day! They also eat fruits eggs and occasionally birds.
- As the last living member of the Ailuridae family, red pandas are not related to giant pandas, which belong to the Ursidae bear family.
- The word panda means “eater of bamboo”
- These fluffy mammals have fur over their entire body, including the underside of their paws.
- Their distinctive red fur is used for camouflage. There’s a lot of red moss and white lichen in the jungles they originate from.
- Red pandas have a “false thumb” which is an extension of their wrist bone. It allows them to hold onto things and climb down trees head-first.