Female red panda added to River Safari as part of international breeding programme

The two-year-old red panda, named Keta, arrived in Singapore in January from Melbourne Zoo. PHOTO: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE - A female red panda will now feature at the River Safari, as part of an international breeding programme for the endangered species.

The two-year-old red panda, named Keta, arrived here in January from Melbourne Zoo and spent the last eight months settling into her new environment, the Wildlife Reserves Singapore said in a statement on Thursday (Aug 30).

She was not able to immediately adapt to her new environment, and needed time to build trust in her keepers and to familiarise with the River Safari's Giant Panda Forest exhibit.

She joins two other male red pandas, Karma and Puskar. Karma, who turns six years old in December, has been earmarked as her mate.

Mr Halim Ali, assistant curator at River Safari, said: "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 overtime.

"Keta is more receptive of her future mate now."

Red pandas are native to Asia, and are classified as an endangered species in the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List due to threats such as habitat loss and poaching.

There are an estimated 10,000 red pandas left in the wild.

Correction note: The headline of an earlier version of this article said Keta was the first female red panda at the River Safari. The first female red panda was actually Poonya, which died in 2016.

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