Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden welcomes a red panda for the first time in the zoo’s history. The female red panda new home is in the recently renovated Discovery Trail located outside of the Discovery Center.

Erik Beck, Operations Director at the zoo, says, “It’s great to have a new species for our visitors to encounter; it’s like opening a window to another part of the world.” Red Pandas are native to the Far East being most prevalent in China and Mongolia.

The red panda is the original “panda” having been discovered 48 years before the giant black and white panda. Red pandas are officially classified as carnivores. They occasionally eat an egg, insect or small animal but mostly stick to a diet of bamboo leaves, grass and fruit. (A red panda eats approximately 200 leaves of bamboo daily!) Red Pandas have lived up to 14 years in zoos with a typical lifespan of 7 to 8 years in the wild.

Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden is open 365 days a year from 9am-5pm; with last admission at 4pm. Admission for adults is $8.50 and children ages 3-12 are $5.50. Children under 2 get in free. In addition, in recognition of their support, Vanderburgh County residents receive $1 discount.

(Mesker Park Zoo-Facebook)