Funding boost for Edinburgh Zoo red panda enclosure

EDINBURGH Zoo's new red pandas will be settling into a brand new enclosure when they arrive later this year. thanks to a funding boose by the People's Postcode Lottery.

Picture: Red panda at RZSS Highland Wildlife Park

An additional £25,000 has been awarded to the RZSS by players of the People’s Postcode Lottery.

The surprise funding will go towards the development of an enclosure for the two red pandas that are due to arrive at Edinburgh Zoo later this year.

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Players of People’s Postcode Lottery awarded an extra £1.425 million to long-term supported charities, with RZSS being one of 57 charities that will receive the extra £25,000.

Picture: Red panda at RZSS Highland Wildlife Park

Last month RZSS celebrated receiving half a million pounds since 2014, which has helped support vital conservation and research projects such as the Budongo Conservation Field Station in Uganda and the Giant Armadillo Conservation Project in the Pantanal, Brazil

Barbara Smith, Managing Director for the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, said: “As a conservation charity we are delighted and grateful to be receiving this additional sum from players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

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“Two male red pandas are due to arrive later this year at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo and this surprise funding will make a huge contribution towards the creation of an enclosure for them.”

Picture: Red panda at RZSS Highland Wildlife Park

Darren McGarry, Head of Living Collections at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo, added: “We’re delighted to be bringing red pandas back to Edinburgh. Our sister park RZSS Highland Wildlife Park houses red pandas and has had great success in breeding this endangered species, with a male kit born for the first time in over a decade in 2013 and a male and a female in 2014.

“In the future we hope to replicate this success at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo. To start with we will support the captive breeding programme as a male holder, but in the future we will house a breeding pair. We’re sure our red pandas will be extremely popular and they were a natural choice as we already have a plentiful supply of bamboo!”

People’s Postcode Lottery are set to mark 10 years since their first ever draw. Since then, it has provided vital funding for numerous charities across Great Britain and internationally.

A minimum of 27.5% is awarded to charities and good causes with over £99.6 million awarded to date.

The pair of red pandas have lived at the RZSS Highland Wildlife Park since 2012, although the species has been at the Park since 2008.

The new additions to Edinburgh Zoo will have similar features to giant pandas, markings similar to a racoon and reddish-brown fur.

Red pandas share some of their habitat with the giant panda and also like to eat bamboo; however, red pandas will supplement their diets with fruits, nuts, eggs, flowers and seeds. Their average lifespan is eight to 12 years with some red pandas living up to 15 years.

They are listed as Endangered due to habitat loss and poaching and it is estimated that there are fewer than 2,400 red pandas left in the wild.