ATLANTA, Ga. (WRBL) – Zoo Atlanta is welcoming a new red panda to make their home in Georgia after their last red panda resident passed away in April 2020. Jackie, a three-year-old male red panda, comes to Georgia from the Smithsonian’s National Zoo.
On April 2, Idgie passed away at age 14. The Zoo’s Asian Forest complex had been without a fan favorite red panda for months after losing a member of “one of its most beloved species,” according to a statement from Zoo Atlanta.
Zoo officials say Jackie was moved to Atlanta after a recommendation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Red Panda Species Survival Plan. The organization makes breeding recommendations, as well as housing recommendations that help support the species’ success in future generations.
“We’re so excited to welcome Jackie to Zoo Atlanta. The red panda is a species that resonates very keenly with our Members and guests,” said Jennifer Mickelberg, PhD, Vice President of Collections and Conservation. “This is likely largely due to its appealing appearance, but this is a species that has an important story to tell about the health and preservation of the forests of Nepal, China, Tibet, India, Bhutan, Burma, and other areas where red pandas still exist.”
Red pandas are naturally solitary, Zoo Atlanta says. Jackie will be living in the red panda habitat at the Zoo, which officials say has been “especially retrofitted for his species.” They say there isn’t a guarantee that Zoo Atlanta guests will see him yet, as he is still exploring his new environment.