SINGAPORE: River Safari has added a female red panda to its all-male brood, under an international breeding programme for the endangered animal.
Originally from Melbourne Zoo, Keta (pronounced “key-ta”) arrived in Singapore in January, said Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS), which manages River Safari, in a press release on Thursday (Aug 30).
However, Keta – who turns three years old in December – did not take to her new environment immediately. It took keepers eight months to earn her trust and familiarise her with the exhibit, WRS said.
River Safari currently has two other red pandas – both male – named Karma and Puskar. Karma – who turns six years old in December – has been identified to be Keta's mate.
Introducing Keta to the two male red pandas was another “interesting challenge”, WRS said.
“As with introducing any new animals, it is not uncommon to see small fights at the beginning," said River Safari’s assistant curator Halim Ali.
"We need to have plenty of patience to let the couple get used to each other’s scent and presence over time. Keta is more receptive of her future mate now.”
Keta will be rotated with the other two red pandas for display until she is comfortable with her playmates, WRS said.
Red pandas are native to Asia, and are classified as endangered in the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List due to threats such as habitat loss and poaching. There are an estimated 10,000 red pandas left in the wild.