The City of Asheville is excited to announce that the WNC Nature Center’s new red panda exhibit opened to the public at noon on Valentine’s Day, February 14. The event included a ceremonial ribbon cutting and the introduction of our new resident pandas, Leafa (pictured) and Phoenix.
The red pandas arrived at the Nature Center in November, passed the required quarantine period and have been slowly introduced to their new habitat. They are the first species introduced as part of the Nature Center’s new Prehistoric Appalachia project and are part of the Species Survival Program associated with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Red pandas are currently endangered, with only several thousand remaining in the wild.
Much of the funding for the red panda exhibit comes from the Friends of the WNC Nature Center, a non-profit organization that has provided funds for the Nature Center for over 40 years. If you’re looking for a last minute Valentine’s Day gift, the Friends’ red panda merchandise is available at the Nature Center gift shop. For more information about the Friends of the WNC Nature Center, visit wildwnc.org/support
About the WNC Nature Center
Asheville’s 42-acre WNC Nature Center is home to more than 60 species of animals, including river otters, red and gray wolves, black bears and a cougar. Its mission is to connect people with animals and plants native to the Southern Appalachian Mountain region by inspiring appreciation, nurturing understanding and advancing conservation. The Nature Center is proud to be accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
For more information about the WNC Nature Center, visit wildwnc.org.
More about Red Pandas
Though they roam the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China, their close ancestors used to call the Southern Appalachians home. Read more about them at this link and watch an educational video below.