Woodland Park Zoo has big plans for its newest arrival, Yukiko (yu-key-ko), a 9-year-old red panda.
A proven sire, Yukiko arrived from Red River Zoo in Fargo, N.D, as part of a conservation breeding program, zoo officials said in a news release on Thursday.
The panda will remain off exhibit as he goes through a series of introductions to Stellar, a 7-year-old female red panda who has lived at the zoo since 2010, zoo officials said. Both animals will remain out of public view until approximately May.
The breeding season for red pandas occurs from early January through the end of April, according to the zoo.
“Yukiko has successfully sired seven offspring so we have high hopes that the pair will produce offspring,” said Mark Myers, a curator at Woodland Park Zoo. “Stellar has not had any viable offspring. If she becomes pregnant, we anticipate a birth in July or August.” The last viable birth of red pandas at the zoo was in 1989.
The zoo’s veterinary team performed a full physical examination of Yukiko including weight, blood work and X-rays.
“We are pleased overall with his weight and blood work and he appears to be in good shape,” said Dr. Darin Collins, director of Woodland Park Zoo’s Animal Health Programs. “We found some moderate dental disease that required us to extract one tooth. He will need to spend some time on antibiotics and other medications before completing his quarantine period, which is standard procedure for all new animals.”