Rosamond Gifford Zoo

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International Red Panda Day

International Red Panda Day 2022

International Red Panda day was started by the Red Panda Network in 2009 to bring more awareness to this endangered species and help raise funds to promote positive change in communities where Red Pandas are found. The Rosamond Gifford Zoo and the RGZ’s chapter of the American Association of Zoo Keepers (AAZK) are proud supporters of the Red Panda Network. Keep reading for fun facts, activities, what is being done to save them with the Red Panda Network and how you can help!

Saving the Red Pandas!

How does the Red Panda Network work with communities to save Red Pandas? Check out this video to see how!

Panda Profile: Ketu

Born: Hamilton Zoo in New Zealand, on December 9, 2011

  • Ketu arrived at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in November of 2013 on a breeding recommendation by the Red Panda Species Survival Plan (SSP).
  • Ketu has reared 6 offspring, all with our female Tabei when they were paired together! They have all moved on to other AZA-accredited zoos based on SSP recommendations in the hopes of continuing a successful breeding program.

Weight: 16 pounds 

Favorite Food: Grapes

  • Ketu loves grapes, and looks forward to getting those in his daily diet! He is also a big fan of craisins. Craisins are used in small amounts in enrichment items and for training sessions.

Personality: Relaxed

  • Ketu is an easy-going panda! He likes to do his own thing but is also curious as to what his keepers are up to whenever they are around. He loves getting snacks and will approach keepers to ask for some! 

Favorite Activity: Foraging

  • Ketu is great at exploring his exhibit space and finding all the food and snacks keepers have hidden for him to find! This is a great way keepers can ensure he practices those natural behaviors of foraging and searching for food that he would be doing in the wild. 

Favorite Enrichment: Jar slow feeders

  • One enrichment Ketu likes to play or work at are jars with small holes all over with craisins inside! He and Simone will roll them all around to get the craisins that will drop out every once and a while. This is a great enrichment that will keep them entertained for a long time!

Fun Fact: Ketu is very genetically valuable!

  • Ketu’s genetic line is directly from New Zealand zoos, where both his parents were also born. This means he has great new genetics to provide for breeding in AZA Zoos here in the United States! The primary goal of AZA institutions is preserving the genetic variability of animals, making sure there is a healthy backup population ready in case anything happens to the wild populations!

Panda Profile: Simone

 Born: Boise Zoo on June 18, 2015

  • Simone moved to Erie Zoological Gardens in 2016, and then to the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in November of 2018,  per recommendations by the Red Panda Species Survival Plan.

Weight: 10.7 pounds 

  • Weight ranges for red pandas average between 8.8 -13.2 pounds. 

Favorite Food: Craisens and grapes

  • In addition to bamboo, all of our red pandas are offered a specially formulated leaf-eater biscuit designed to supplement their high fiber nutritional requirements. 

Personality: Happy and relaxed!

  • Simone is a very easy-going panda, who is a good learner. She enjoys interacting with her keepers and relaxing.

Favorite Activity: Training

  • Simone is a great learner. Keepers use positive reinforcement while training. Currently, keepers are working with Simone to complete voluntary ultrasound training. This will eliminate stress and allow keepers and vet staff to track her progress if she was ever to become pregnant.
  • Simone also participates in paint training, where she holds a paintbrush and paints on a canvas!

Favorite Enrichment: Training

  • Paper bags! (As long as there is food in them!) Keepers will put treats in several small or large paper bags and hide them around their exhibit and holding. Simone enjoys searching them out and ripping them open to discover what is inside.
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