Maiya, a 3-year-old female red panda, right, now joins Xing-Xing, a male, at the Potawatomi Zoo in South Bend. Provided photo
South Bend Tribune
SOUTH BEND — The Potawatomi Zoo has a new red panda, Maiya, a 3-year-old female, who now joins Xing-Xing, the 1 1/2-year-old male red panda.
“Red pandas are considered endangered in their native habitat, and zoos play an important role in helping conserve this species,” Josh Sisk, the zoo’s director of animal programs and education, said in a news release. “We hope that having a pair of red pandas of breeding age will allow us to contribute to the sustainability of this species.”
Maiya and Xing-Xing are currently housed between the chimpanzee and kudu habitats while their long-term habitat is being built. Zoo visitors can see the pandas through the end of the 2018 season on Sunday. They can also be seen on 2019 winter days — Jan. 19, Feb. 2, Feb. 16, and March 2 — and after the start of the 2019 season on March 29.
Red pandas are indigenous to a narrow area stretching across the eastern Himalayas and southern China. And don’t worry about South Bend winters: the pandas’ thick coats, furred feet and low metabolism, among other features, help them adapt to cold weather.