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International Red Panda Day

Zoo News - Posted 15 September 2016

Red Panda in tree2

September 17 every year is International Red Panda Day, a day to celebrate and raise awareness for these gorgeous little pandas.

There are five red panda at Hamilton Zoo. Tayla and Chito and their children Khela, Tenzing and Jamuna. Chito arrived from Auckland Zoo in 2006 and Tayla joined him from Canberra in 2010. Since being paired the two have produced eight offspring, who are now beginning to breed themselves.

Shouldn’t they be in the wild?

Unfortunately, the latest news from the Red Panda Network shows the wild isn’t the safe place that it should be for Red Panda. Earlier this year their status on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species regressed from ‘vulnerable’ to ‘endangered’.

Deforestation and habitat fragmentation are the main threats to the survival of the species, and poaching for their beautiful fur is a major problem in China, where the pelts have cultural significance.

Breeding programmes in zoos all around the world have become even more important. We agree they should be in their natural home, but we humans have made this unsafe. So the red pandas in zoo collections are ambassadors for the species, providing the opportunity to tell visitors their story and demonstrate what we can do to help.

The story of Chito and Tayla

Since Chito and Tayla were matched up in 2010 it’s been all go!

Tayla and chito2
Chito and Tayla sharing lunch


9 December 2011: Ketu (male) was born.

Ketu went to Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse, New York in 2013 to partner with female Tabei. In 2015 Ketu fathered sons Pumori and Rohan and in June this year he fathered another two babies, a male and female. 

march april 2012 2 Tayla on bucket ketu behind may 2
Ketu Ketu with mum Tayla (on bucket)


20 December 2012: Triplets! Karma, Nima and Dawa (all males) were born.

Karma went to Singapore Zoo in 2014 and his brothers Nima and Dawa both went to National Zoo in Canberra in 2015.

redpanda6 dawa on scales Panda family in bed
The triplets snuggle together Dawa weighs in Bedtime with mum Tayla


12 January 2014: Khusi and Khela (females) were born.

Khusi transferred to Wellington Zoo in 2015 and sister Khela remains here at Hamilton Zoo.

IMG 3362 Khusi2
Khusi and Khela Khusi explores her new home at Wellington Zoo


22 January 2015: Tenzing (male) and Jamuna (female) were born and remain at Hamilton Zoo for now. 

Jamuna Tenzing
Jamuna Tenzing


Join us for a special FREE Red Panda Zookeeper Talk on Saturday 17 September at 11am to learn more about these fantastic animals, their enrichment here at the Zoo and the issues facing their kind in the wild. 


Playtime for Jamuna and Tenzing




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