EDMONTON – The Edmonton Valley Zoo has a new resident: a one-year-old red panda named Kalden, who was born in the Northeastern Wisconsin Zoo.
Kalden made the move north in July, but was just introduced to his new mate Pip about a week ago.
“He’s very happy to be up in Canada because it’s his type of weather; and he is doing very, very well here and accepting his new role as future husband, I guess you could say,” said Wade Krasnow, Animal Care Team Lead at the Valley Zoo.
He added that Kalden was a little grumpy when he first arrived, but behaved like “a perfect gentleman” when introduced to his mate.
“He gave Pip her space and approached her slowly. He liked Pip right away and the two have adjusted well to living together.”
The Zoo is hoping that the two will be able to add to the endangered red panda population in the near future. You can watch both of them in the video below:
You’ll notice that Kalden is still a little shy, especially compared to Pip, who isn’t afraid to get up close and personal for a treat (both of them seem to love grapes). You can tell them apart by their tails and markings on their faces. Pip’s tail has a slight kink near the tip, and her face has more prominent white markings. Kalden, on the other hand, has a full bushy tail and more pronounced eyebrows.
Zoo officials are celebrating his arrival.
“It’s a big deal, not just for the zoo, but for the whole red panda population in North America and the world, because we’re helping save the species,” Krasnow explained.
Only about 2,500 adults remain in the wild. Over the past decade, the Valley Zoo has successfully bred seven red panda cubs.
Zoo staff hope to see some cubs from Kalden and Pip as early as next spring since the mating season of the species occurs from January to March, and pregnancies last up to five months.
You can meet the two this Sunday, at the Valley Zoo’s Red Panda-monium celebration (which just so happens to coincide with the City of Edmonton’s Free Admission Day).