Portland, Ore. – There’s a brand new fun and exciting animal here for you to see at the Oregon Zoo. Moshu (pronounced Moe-Shoe) is a new 7-year-old male Red Panda that just arrived from the zoo in Nashville, TN. People often get confused about Red Pandas. Are they a cat? Are they a bear? Are they a Panda? Nicole Nicassio-Hiskey with the Oregon Zoo says they have they’re own special niche. They’re a rare creature because they’re a carnivore, but they don’t eat meat. Their teeth are like a meat-eaters because of their ancestors, but their main diet is bamboo. Red Pandas are a quiet and solitary animal. They’re also one of the first exhibits you’ll see at the Oregon zoo. So you may want to be quiet and move slow when you check them out.
KXL’s Jacob Dean snapped these pictures of Mei Mei during a recent visit to the Oregon zoo.
Read more from The Zoo: DOUBLE THE CUTENESS: ZOO WELCOMES SECOND RED PANDA
Moshu, a furry 7-year-old tree dweller, is settling into his new home with Mei Mei
PORTLAND, Ore. — What could be cuter than a red panda? Two red pandas! Moshu, a fluffy 7-year-old, was reunited with his longtime companion Mei Mei at the Oregon Zoo earlier this month, and is settling right into his new habitat.
“Moshu and Mei Mei know each other well, and it’s wonderful to see them pick up where they left off,” said keeper Sara Morgan. “He’s a sweet, curious red panda and we’re so excited to have him here.”
Mei Mei arrived at the zoo last spring, and quickly became a favorite of care staff and visitors alike. Although wild red pandas are solitary, spending most of their time alone or in small groups, Moshu and Mei Mei have spent time together in the past, and keepers anticipate the pair having lots of fun together.
The two furry tree dwellers can be found in the red panda habitat located in the heart of the zoo, near the train station and the Education Center. Moshu has full access to the habitat now, but like his pal Mei Mei, he may not be visible all the time.
“Red pandas are known for their climbing ability, and Moshu is no exception,” Morgan said. “If you visit Moshu and Mei Mei at the zoo and don’t spot them right away, be sure to look up — they like to spend time in the tops of trees.”
Morgan says red pandas also spend a fair portion of their days napping, and Moshu and Mei Mei might be snuggled up in their den box or snoozing in their indoor area.
To see a video, go to bit.ly/moshupanda
Though they share part of their name with giant pandas, red pandas are in a class all by themselves: The sharp-toothed, ring-tailed omnivores are the only members of the Ailuridae family. Found in the montane forests of the Himalayas and major mountain ranges of southwestern China (Nepal, India, Bhutan, China and Myanmar), their striking red, white and black fur provides camouflage in the shadowed nooks of the trees amongst reddish moss and white lichens.
Red pandas are an endangered species with populations declining by about 50% in the past 20 years. While exact numbers are uncertain, there could be as few as 2,500 left in the wild. In addition to habitat loss and fragmentation, they also face threats from poaching and the illegal wildlife trade. Accredited zoos are participating in coordinated breeding programs to help preserve them.
Moshu came to Oregon on a recommendation from the Species Survival Plan for red pandas — a cooperative program among zoos that helps create genetically diverse, self-sustaining populations to guarantee the long-term future of animals. These SSPs also support relevant field projects, research and public education to help prevent animal endangerment and extinction.
As part of the Metro family, the Oregon Zoo helps make greater Portland a great place to call home. Committed to conservation, the zoo is currently working to save endangered California condors, Oregon silverspot and Taylor’s checkerspot butterflies, western pond turtles and northern leopard frogs. Other projects focused on saving animals from extinction include studies on polar bears, orangutans and cheetahs.
Support from the Oregon Zoo Foundation enhances and expands the zoo’s efforts in conservation, education and animal welfare. Members, donors and corporate and foundation partners help the zoo make a difference across the region and around the world.
The zoo opens at 9:30 a.m. daily and is located five minutes from downtown Portland, just off Highway 26. The zoo is also accessible by MAX light rail line. Visitors who travel to the zoo via MAX receive $1.50 off zoo admission. Call TriMet Customer Service, 503-238-RIDE (7433), or visit trimet.org for fare and route information.