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ATLANTA – February 15, 2023 – Jackie, the red panda at Zoo Atlanta, will soon be off on a new adventure at a new home. The 5-year-old male will be leaving Atlanta for Zoo Knoxville in Tennessee during the week of February 20, 2023.

 Jackie’s move was recommended by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Red Panda Species Survival Plan® (SSP). While often associated with breeding recommendations, the SSP also takes a big-picture approach to assessing animal populations at accredited zoos, not only for breeding and genetics but for other factors such as individual or housing needs.

In his two years at Zoo Atlanta, Jackie has become a popular ambassador for Members and guests. While Jackie’s fans are encouraged to visit this weekend before he departs for his new chapter, red panda fans will not miss the species for long. Also as part of an SSP recommendation, with Jackie’s move, two new female red panda sisters will be joining the Zoo Atlanta family. Stay tuned for details on these exciting new arrivals.

“Jackie has endeared himself to many of our Members, guests, and social media audiences since arriving at Zoo Atlanta in 2020,” said Jennifer Mickelberg, PhD. “Collaborative programs like SSPs are very important to the long-term success and viability of animal populations in accredited zoos, and these collaborations sometimes mean that animals move here to Zoo Atlanta or vice versa to other organizations to benefit the individuals and population. We look forward to hearing updates on Jackie in his new home, as well as to welcoming the new red pandas our visitors will get to meet in coming weeks.”

Native to the Himalayas in Nepal, Bhutan, and parts of India, red pandas are classified as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). In addition to their greatest challenge of habitat loss, red pandas are threatened by poaching for their pelts and capture for the illegal pet trade. The species is generally solitary in the wild but may be found in small groups.

Zoo Atlanta currently supports red panda conservation through its Mabel Dorn Reeder Conservation Endowment Fund. Funding from Zoo Atlanta works to counteract habitat loss by enabling continued support of the Red Panda Network’s reforestation nursery in Jaubari, Nepal.

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