Feisty Red Panda moves into River Safari's Giant Panda Forest

30 Aug 2018
Heads up boys, there is a fiery new girl in town. Female firefox Keta (pronounced as ‘key-ta’) is River Safari’s latest addition to the red panda brood in the Giant Panda Forest exhibit. 

Born 10 December 2015, Keta the Red Panda has just moved into the
Giant Panda Forest at River Safari. Keta is part of an international breeding
programme for the endangered Red Panda. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES
SINGAPORE

PHOTO CREDIT: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

 

Originally from Melbourne Zoo, Keta—who turns three this December—arrived in Singapore in January. The spirited animal did not take to her new environment immediately, and River Safari keepers devoted eight months earning Keta’s trust, allowing her to be completely comfortable with them, and familiarising her to the exhibit. Introducing the spirited female to male Red Pandas Karma and Puskar behind-the-scenes was another interesting challenge.

“We have a red hot female in the house,” said Halim Ali, Assistant Curator, River Safari, with a laugh. “As with introducing any new animals, it is not uncommon to see small fights at the beginning. We need to have plenty of patience to let the couple get used to each other’s scent and presence over time. Keta is more receptive of her future mate now.”

Native to Asia, and classified as endangered in the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List due to threats such as habitat loss and poaching, there is an estimated 10,000 Red Pandas left in the wild. Keta is part of a globally managed breeding programme for her kind, and male Karma—who turns six years old in December—has been identified to be her mate, with the hope of welcoming little red pandas in the future.

Keta ventures out into her exhibit at the Giant Panda Forest bio dome in River Safari. Keta will be rotated with Karma and Puskar for display until she is comfortable with her play mates. 

PHOTO CREDIT: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

 

Compared to Keta, six-year-old Karma sports a darker reddish-orange coat. The Red Pandas at River Safari enjoy a diet of bamboo, apples, pears, grapes and high fibre biscuits.

PHOTO CREDIT: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE