Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden welcomes a red panda for the first time in the zoo's history.
The female red panda's new home is in the recently renovated Discovery Trail located outside of the Discovery Center.
The zoo's Operations Director, Erik Beck, thinks it's great to have a new species for visitors to encounter. "It's like opening a window to another part of the world," Beck says.
The red panda, having been discovered 48 years before the giant black and white panda, is the original "panda."
They are native to the Far East, being most prevalent in China and Mongolia.
Red pandas are carnivores, because even though they mostly stick to a diet of bamboo leaves (approximately 200 daily), grass and fruit, they will occasionally eat an egg, insect or small animal.
They have lived up to 14 years in zoos, with a typical life span of 7 to 8 years in the wild.
Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden is open 365 days a year from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with last admission at 4 a.m.
Admission for adults is $8.50 and children ages 3 to 12 are $5.50.
Children 2 years old and younger are free.
In recognition of their support, Vanderburgh County residents receive $1 discount.
Visit www.meskerparkzoo.com for information regarding yearly memberships and other Zoo services.