ROYAL OAK, Mich. – The Detroit Zoo has unveiled their newly expanded Red Panda Forest.
The Holtzman Wildlife Foundation Red Panda Forest provides a larger and more stimulating naturalistic environment promoting the red pandas’ overall well-being and offering an impactful educational experience for the Zoo’s more than 1.5 million annual guests.
The habitat has been reimagined, expanding to more than 14,000 square feet, with a flowing stream, a larger and more complex arboreal pathway through the habitat, misting areas to cool the red pandas in the summer, additional land for exploration and a variety of new nesting places.
A new rope bridge extends 80 feet through the trees in the red pandas’ habitat and provides unparalleled views of these arboreal animals for adventurous guests.
“We are grateful to the Holtzman Wildlife Foundation for its support,” said Ron Kagan, executive director and CEO for the Detroit Zoological Society (DZS). “The $500,000 gift has enabled us to improve the home for red pandas at the Detroit Zoo and significantly furthers our conservation education efforts for this endangered species and its wild habitat.”
Another substantial part of the expansion is a new indoor holding area with heated and cooled areas equipped with nest boxes, branches and other features to ensure the red pandas’ health and welfare during the rare times they are not in the outdoor habitat.
The Detroit Zoo is home to three red pandas: 2-year-old male Ravi, 3-year-old female Ash and 13-year-old female Ta-Shi. The DZS has long been engaged in a cooperative breeding program through the Association of Zoos & Aquariums.
Nine cubs have been born at the Detroit Zoo over the past nine years, all of whom have moved on to other accredited zoos to enhance the genetic diversity of the population.