Zoo gets red panda

The female comes from Sweden and will partner with the zoo's male

Prague Zoo has a new red panda, a 1-year-old female named Wilma. She is intended to be a mate for Pat, who was already at the zoo. The two can be seen in an exhibition area near the main entrance.

“Pat is no longer lonely and is looking forward to a new partner,” the zoo said in a press release.

Wilma was born June 28, 2016, in Eskilstuna, Sweden. She arrived in May and has been getting used to her new environment.

“Wilma is in good shape and weighs 4.04 kg,” said Pavel Brandl, mammal curator at Prague Zoo. “It is our first panda who has grown on a diet high in fiber and with a minimum of simple sugars.”

After she became acclimatized, Wilma was moved to an outdoor exposition where she will be living with 10-year-old male Pat. He became the father of Akima, a male, in 2012. This was the first successful red-panda breeding in Prague Zoo. Red pandas are very delicate animals, and their breeding is difficult. The first red pandas came to Prague Zoo in 1955.

Red pandas, also called lesser pandas or red bear-cats, are smaller than giant pandas. Both species are endangered.

The acquisition of the red panda is unrelated to the zoo's efforts to get a giant panda from China. The zoo plans to build a new pavilion for a giant panda and is preparing to make a formal request from the Chinese president, who must approve it before the Prague Zoo can get one. The giant panda enclosure could open in 2021, according to previous reports.

The zoo this year welcomed its 60 millionth visitor since it opened 86 years ago. In 1931, when it opened just 20,000 people visited. Last year that grew to 1,448,353 people in a single year.

Prague Zoo was ranked the fourth-best in the world by users of the travel site TripAdvisor in July 2015.

The zoo this year has seen the births of a litter of wolves, a rare white-bearded tamarin, a litter of cheetahs and several Komodo dragons. Last year saw the birth of two baby elephants. Other births last year included an aardvark, a giraffe, a gorilla and a rare African openbill. The zoo in 2016 saw a total of 1,191 juveniles in 223 species.

Prague Zoo currently covers 58 hectares with 50 hectares used for exhibits. It has over 4,700 animals from 681 species, including 144 species listed as threatened. The zoo has 12 pavilions and over 150 exhibits. It has been particularly active in the preservation of the Przewalski's horses, which are slowly being returned to the wild.

The zoo as of May 31 is entirely non-smoking. New parking lots with a free shuttle bus opened on July 1 at Povltavská Street by the Blanka tunnel.

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