New Red Panda Visits Henry Vilas
Zookeepers Hope This Rare Species from Asia will Mate Here in Madison
by Simone Rogers, age 16
In an effort to get two red pandas to mate, the Henry Vilas Zoo is hosting a new male red panda.
“They are getting along very well so far,” says zookeeper Jennifer Zuehlke about the new panda pair at the zoo. Lum is the new male red panda. He came from the Cincinnati Zoo. ShaLei, the female red panda, has been at the zoo for a couple of years.
Lum replaced Chang Tan, because he did not get along with ShaLei and would not mate with her. Ms. Zuehlke reports that ShaLei is the boss in the new relationship and Lum is being a gentleman.
Red pandas are surprisingly small, about the size of a raccoon. Their weight can vary from 112 to 224 ounces and they are about 3.5 feet long. They are native to China. These pandas have bushy tails that help them climb and keep them warm.
ShaLei and Lum have had a couple of months to spend together, playing and deciding whose space is whose. They appear to have a very relaxing relationship. Zookeepers hope that sometime soon there will be one to four red panda babies born at the zoo. We will keep you updated.
[Sources: Simpson Street Free Press; Henry Vilas Zoo]