Staff at the Lake District Wildlife Park near Keswick have teamed up with Singapore Zoo, as part of an international study to monitor the wellbeing of the critically endangered Red Panda.
The popular attraction is home to two Red Pandas, Mei Li (beautiful one) and Charu (graceful), and is already involved in the European Endangered Species breeding programme. Now work has got underway with Singapore Zoo on a global programme to monitor Red Panda health over the next 12 months and find out more about these extraordinary creatures.
There are currently around 2,500 Red Pandas worldwide, with numbers declining by a staggering 50% in less than 20 years, as these notoriously shy animals lose their mountain homes to deforestation and poaching in areas like the Eastern Himalayas and South Western China.
“There is so much more to learn about the endearing but critically endangered Red Panda, both in the wild and in captivity,” says Cover Keeper, Leanne Whitham. “Working with Singapore Zoo to monitor our Red Pandas here in Cumbria is great example of a global partnership coming together to help protect the species from potential diseases and threats. We believe it is vital to better understand the issues facing these special creatures and the conservation work needed to protect them before it is too late.”
To coincide with the new research, the Lake District Wildlife Park is planning a series of Red Panda themed activities for families in its interactive learning area over the summer holidays.
The Park’s ‘Red Panda Ranger’ days will take place daily from Saturday 20 July until Friday 2 August. Suitable for all ages, there will be a range of quizzes, talks and children’s mask-making.
There will even be weaving using natural materials to mimic traditional methods. This mirrors the work the Red Panda Network (RPN) is doing in eastern Nepal to help local people earn an income while supporting Red Panda and forest conservation.