Cork people are set to be thrilled with the news that a Dub is after taking up residence in the rebel county as Bonnie the Red Panda moved from Dublin Zoo to Fota Wildlife Park this week.
The Red Panda, who was born on the 27th of June last year, is moving to the Fota to pair up with Pete who came from Germany to the East Cork Wildlife Park 18 months ago. This will be a welcome move for Pete who has been living on his own for the last couple of months following the death of his partner Binthy.
Speaking about the arrival Willie Duffy, head warden at Fota Wildlife Park said: "We are delighted to welcome Bonnie here at the Park, we know that she was loved by the staff in Dublin Zoo and we will make sure that she gets the best care down here". The park is hoping the arrival of Bonnie may give them a baby Red Panda in the next year, which would be the first since the very popular Rua who was born in August 2010.
Rua who now resides in Belfast Zoo was the offspring of Bamboo and Binthy, both of whom have sadly passed away in the last 12 months. Mr Duffy hopes that the new arrival will settle in well with Pete "it was sad to lose Bamboo and Binthy but it's great that we now have two new Red Pandas in the park that will hopefully breed in the coming months".
The Red Panda, also called the Firefox or Lesser Panda is a mostly herbivorous mammal, favouring bamboo as its main food choice is native to the Himalayas in Bhutan, southern China, Pakistan, India, Laos, Nepal, and Burma. It's thought that fewer than 2,500 mature individuals remain in their native home range.
The Red Panda isn't the only new arrival at Fota Wildlife Park, last month the park welcomed a male capybara from Twycross Zoo and a male Scimitar Horned Oryx from Marwell. These arrivals are all part of the breeding exchange programme which is controlled by EAZA (European Association of Zoos & Aquaria).