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Red Pandas Make Their Debut At Lincoln Park Zoo

By Parker Molloy in News on Feb 17, 2015 9:30PM

Zoo officials hope female panda Leafa (left) and male panda Phoenix will be able to breed and have healthy panda cubs. (Photo credit: Jill Dignan/Lincoln Park Zoo)

Earlier this month, the Lincoln Park Zoo unveiled their newest acquisition: a pair of red pandas. Debuting in the Kovler Lion House, zoo officials hope that Leafa, a 5-year-old female, and Phoenix, a 3-year-old male, will find a romantic connection with one another to help combat the species’ dwindling numbers.

As part of the red panda conservation program, Leafa and Phoenix were transferred from the Houston Zoo to their new North Side home. Experts suggest that there are fewer than 10,000 red pandas left in the world. Luckily, the zoo claims that Phoenix “is already showing interest” in Leafa.

As the result of poaching and deforestation, the world red panda population has shrunk in recent years. The animals, which resemble a cross between a bear and a panda, are native to China, Nepal, India, Bhutan and Burma.