Asheville City Council approves funding for red panda exhibit, b - FOX Carolina 21

Asheville City Council approves funding for red panda exhibit, breeding program

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Red panda (Source: Associated Press) Red panda (Source: Associated Press)
ASHEVILLE, NC (FOX Carolina) -

The Western North Carolina Nature Center will be getting some new residents this fall!

On Tuesday, Asheville City Council approved the appropriation of $184,820 to building a red panda exhibit at the Nature Center. The funds will also go toward a breeding project, meaning Asheville could see baby red pandas in the future.

The exhibit will be located in the prehistoric Appalachia-themed area of the park with a den, breeding area, interpretive exhibit and viewing area. Construction begins this spring.

“The central Asian range of the modern day red panda is almost identical climate-wise to the Southern Appalachians so our pandas should feel very much at home in Asheville,” said Chris Gentile, WNC Nature Center Director. “The fact that the fossilized remains of their ancestor the Bristol’s Panda have been discovered in Eastern Tennessee indicates that these pandas were once prevalent in our area.”

Red pandas are an endangered species native to the Himalayas and southwestern China. Officials believe only about 10,000 adult red pandas exist in the wild. The WNC Wildlife Center hopes to host a breeding pair of red pandas to help with conservation efforts.

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