ZOO ATLANTA WELCOMES RUBY AND ROSE THE RED PANDAS
Two-year-old sisters will be visible to Members and guests in coming weeks
ATLANTA – February 24, 2023 – Zoo Atlanta welcomes Ruby and Rose, two female red pandas, to the animal population. The 2-year-old sisters arrived in Atlanta on February 23, 2023, from Zoo Knoxville in Tennessee. The pair will complete a routine quarantine period behind the scenes, so are not yet visible to Members and guests; they will have a chance to explore their new home in the Zoo’s Asian Forest in coming weeks.
Ruby and Rose’s move was recommended by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Red Panda Species Survival Plan® (SSP). Also as part of an SSP recommendation, Jackie, the 5-year-old male red panda who had lived at Zoo Atlanta since 2020, has moved to Zoo Knoxville.
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 housing. Collaborative programs like SSPs work to ensure the long-term viability of animal populations in accredited zoos, and
recommendations can result in transfers between AZA zoos, both for the needs of individual animals and for the benefit of the population at large.
“We are thrilled to welcome Ruby and Rose to Zoo Atlanta, and are excited for Jackie’s new opportunity at Zoo Knoxville. This is an outstanding example of cooperation between AZA zoos for the benefit of all of the animals involved,” said Jennifer Mickelberg, PhD, Vice President of Collections and Conservation. “We look forward to introducing Ruby and Rose, and the conservation messages for which they are ambassadors, to our Members and guests.”
Red pandas are a separate species from giant pandas, with which they share a distant common ancestor but to which they are not closely related. Giant pandas are members of the bear family, Ursidae, while red pandas are in their own family, Ailuridae. Known for the lustrous red coats that earned them the Chinese name hunho, or “fire fox,” red pandas are largely arboreal and generally solitary in the wild, but may be found in small groups.
There are two subspecies of red pandas. The Himalayan subspecies, which Ruby and Rose represent, is native to Nepal, Bhutan, and parts of India, while the second subspecies is native to China. 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. 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.
Learn more or plan a visit at zooatlanta.org, and stay tuned for details on when Members and guests will be able to see Ruby and Rose.
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About Zoo Atlanta
A proud accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the gold standard for animal care and welfare, Zoo Atlanta has a mission to save wildlife and their habitats through conservation, research, education, and engaging experiences. The Zoo is home to more than 1,000 animals representing more than 200 species from around the world, many of them endangered or critically endangered. Highlights include giant pandas, including Ya Lun and Xi Lun, the only giant panda twins in the U.S.; one of North America’s largest zoological populations of great apes; and a global center of excellence for the care and study of reptiles and amphibians. Recent transformations include the African Savanna, featuring new and expanded habitats for African elephants, giraffes, zebras, ostriches, bontebok, warthogs, meerkats and rhinos; Savanna Hall, a state-of-the-art special event destination in the newly restored historic former home of the Atlanta Cyclorama; and the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation Plaza. For more information, visit zooatlanta.org.
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