The two red pandas recently born at The Netherlands’ Amersfoort Zoo have been given names: “The female is called 'Suki' and the male is called 'Hikaru'. “Suki” means “love”, “Hikaru” means “brilliant”, says animal caretaker Saskia van Soest. “The animals were born in July, but sexing, and therefore also naming, takes place when the young are a bit older. The pandas are doing very well and they are exploring their enclosure to the fullest.”
Red pandas are native to the Himalayas in Southeast Asia.
“We are very happy with the young pandas, because this species is not doing well in the wild. With their fluffy fur and dark brown eyes, they have a great appeal to people and are very popular as pets. Many people therefore bring a panda into their home,” explains Saskia. Also, due to poaching and felling, only 10,000 red pandas are left in the wild. The Amersfoort Zoo Wildlife Fund therefore supports the Red Panda Network, which trains the local population to become forest rangers. These 'forest police' keep control of the panda's habitat.
Said Saskia: “Since things are unfortunately not going well for the species in their original habitat, we are extra happy with this double panda birth at Amersfoort Zoo.”