SOURCE: Denver Zoo

April 23, 2015 16:47 ET

Denver Zoo Welcomes New Red Panda

Male Hamlet Ventures Onto Exhibit After Arriving From Kansas

DENVER, CO--(Marketwired - April 23, 2015) - A new red panda is calling Denver Zoo home after recently making its way from Garden City, KS. Hamlet, a 1-year-old male, arrived from Lee Richardson Zoo on February 14 and has now come out from behind the scenes. Weather permitting, guests can see him in his habitat, located on the southeastern side of campus, near the Zoo's camels and Przewalski's horses.

Hamlet was born in July 2013 at Lee Richardson Zoo. He arrives through recommendations of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP), which ensures healthy populations and genetic diversity among zoo animals. It is fitting the red panda arrived on Valentine's Day, as animal staff is in the process of bringing a female to pair with Hamlet, with the hope the two will breed in the future.

Zookeepers describe Hamlet as relaxed, easy-going and a little bit shy, much unlike his dramatic Shakespearean namesake. When Hamlet isn't busy exploring his new exhibit, keepers say he loves snacking on bamboo.

Born with cream colored fur, and small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, red pandas, or fire fox, are found in the Himalayas. As adults their bodies measure 20-25 inches long, with 11-19 inch tails. They have soft, dense reddish fur on the back while their legs and undersides are dark and there is some white on their face and ears. Their bushy tails have six distinctive yellowish rings. Red pandas were formerly thought to be closely related to giant pandas, but are now considered to be closer related to raccoons.

Red pandas are classified as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), with an estimated population of less than 10,000 mature individuals remaining in the wild. Their population continues to decline due to habitat fragmentation and hunting. Like their larger cousins, these lesser pandas eat primarily bamboo shoots. Red pandas are well adapted with their thick fur coats to live in the often low temperatures of the mountains of south-central Asia and are quite comfortable outside during cooler days here in Denver.

About Denver Zoo: Denver Zoo brings education alive, providing a unique learning experience that sparks an interest in the natural world for visitors and program participants alike. Home to 4,300 animals representing more than 600 species, the Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), which assures the highest standards of animal care.

A leader in green action, Denver Zoo is the greenest zoo in the country and is dedicated to ensuring the safety of the environment in support of all species by attaining the highest environmental standards. Since 1996, Denver Zoo has participated in about 600 animal conservation projects in 62 countries on all seven continents.

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Contact Information

  • Contact:

    Tiffany Barnhart
    (720) 337-1444

    Sean Andersen-Vie
    (720) 337-1418