Our red pandas have always been a fan favorite at the zoo, but this season you’ll definitely want to stop by their exhibit on the hill. Why? Because you’ll see a new face looking back at you! We are excited to introduce Justin, the newest addition to our red panda family. Justin is a five year old male who came to us from the Memphis Zoo to be paired with our female Xiao, based on a recommendation by the Red Panda Species Survival Plan. Our previous male Mars now lives happily at the Memphis Zoo with his new family and friends!
When Justin arrived in Fort Wayne a few weeks ago, he was very excited to explore his new home. Keeper Stephanie Raiman describes him as a “very curious panda- he has to check out everything new that comes into the exhibit, including rakes, ladders, and barrels. He is especially interested in the peafowl that walk past the exhibit! He likes to eat the apples that are a part of his daily diet and he really enjoys special treats like pears, grapes, and raisins.”
You can tell Xiao and Justin apart because he is much larger than Xiao, and has a distinctive kink in his tail. It’s definitely a quirk, but Stephanie says not to worry- “it doesn’t seem to affect him or hurt him at all, it just gives him character!” He also has larger ears, which his keepers lovingly refer to as “Yoda ears.”
The good news: Xiao and Justin seem to be getting along well. Keepers often find them cuddling together, especially on cold nights, which is a great sign! Make sure you stop by the red panda exhibit when the zoo opens this weekend and say hello to the newest resident of the hill!