We have welcomed the addition of a new male red panda here at Newquay Zoo. It has been named Rowan, which means ‘red hair’ in several Celtic languages.
Red pandas, which are native to the mountains of Nepal, China and Myanmar, are classed as endangered in the wild, due to deforestation, poaching, hunting for fur, and the pet trade. However, it is hoped that Rowan will become part of a breeding pair with Newquay’s other red panda – a female called Seren.
Red pandas are not as well-known as giant pandas, however they were actually the first animal to be given the name ‘panda’ – roughly 50 years before it was applied to black and white pandas.
Rowan’s arrival coincides with the release of the new Disney Pixar film Turning Red, which features a 13-year-old girl who transforms into a giant red panda whenever her emotions run high. And while Newquay’s red pandas aren’t quite as big as those in the film, the zoo hopes that it will inspire children to find out more about this beautiful creature.
Steve Nash, Head of Campaigns and Programmes, said: “We can’t wait for people to visit Newquay Zoo and discover what a real red panda is like. They are amazing climbers, and can often be found scaling the tops of the trees in their enclosure.”
Dave Rich, Keeper Team Leader, said: “We are excited about the prospect of having another red panda cub at Newquay. Two red pandas have been born here previously, including Seren’s daughter Emma, who recently moved to Longleat to start a family of her own.”
Newquay Zoo is part of Wild Planet Trust, a registered charity dedicated to helping halt species decline through science, education and conservation. Breeding rare animals like red pandas not only helps to increase the ex-situ population, but allows scientists to observe the behaviours of this shy and elusive species. Rowan and Seren can be found in the red panda enclosure in the centre of the zoo.