Leafa the red panda

Leafa is one of the two red pandas making a debut in February. (Photo courtesy: WNC Nature Center/ December 20, 2018)

Asheville, NC (FOX Carolina) - The Western North Carolina Nature Center is excited to announce the opening of the much anticipated red panda exhibit on Valentine's Day, February 14, 2019. 

The opening ceremony will be held at noon and include a ribbon cutting ceremony and the introduction of the new residents. 

The center says their pair of red pandas came to the WNC Nature Center from the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. 

The female, Leafa, is ten years old and the male, Phoenix, is seven. The two have lived together and had offspring in the past. Right now the Nature Center is giving the pair time alone away from the public to acclimate to their new surroundings. 

Nature Center Animal Curator Erin Olread said, “The next couple months will be a time for settling in, getting to know daily routines, and creating relationships with our staff members who will be caring for them. They are playful and curious and already doing great.”

Red pandas are currently endangered with several thousand individuals remaining in the wild.

To support the red pandas, click here.

Information for this article came from the WNC Nature Center's press release and can be read here

Copyright 2019 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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