SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s Hogle Zoo is expecting a bit of panda-monium this spring.
Zoo officials announced Wednesday two red pandas — a 3 ½-year-old male and a 7-year-old female — will be moving to Salt Lake City. It’s hoped the pair will eventually breed. It's been 10 years since the zoo had a red panda on display.
The pandas — currently at Reid Park Zoo in Tucson, Arizona — will move into the Janet Q. Lawson Red Panda exhibit once it’s ready to open. Lawson is a longtime zoo board member and donor.
According to a statement from the zoo, red pandas are native to the mountains of Nepal and southwestern China. They have thick fur over their entire body, even the soles of their feet to conserve body heat, and their diet consists mostly of bamboo. The number of red pandas in the wild is estimated to be fewer than 25,000 due, primarily to loss of habitat and the illegal pet trade.