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Endangered Red Panda Comes to Central Park Zoo

By Ben Fractenberg | August 15, 2011 3:58pm
 The Central Park Zoo added BIru, a red panda, in August, 2011.
The Central Park Zoo added BIru, a red panda, in August, 2011.
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Central Park Zoo

CENTRAL PARK — Carmelo Anthony will now be able to pose with a panda a little closer to home.

The Central Park Zoo recently welcomed a 1-year-old red panda named Biru, who came from the Oklahoma City Zoo. The male red panda was brought to New York to breed with a female companion, Amaya, in the zoo's Temperate Territory, officials said.

“We are pleased to welcome Biru to the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Central Park Zoo,” said Jeff Sailer, Director of City Zoos.  “He came to join Amaya on the recommendation of the Species Survival Plan and he has adapted well to his new surroundings."

Red pandas are endangered by the loss of their habitat due to deforestation for timber, fuel and agricultural use, Central Park Zoo officials said. Fewer than 2,500 are estimated to live in the wild, and they are native to the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China.

The zoo works with the Species Survival Plan to conserve endangered species.

Eight Chinese merganser ducklings hatched at the zoo in April, making them the the first to be bred in captivatiy.

While the zoo works to provide endangered animals with a home, one animal recently made a temporary escape.

A peacock somehow managed to fly away from the zoo's aviary on August 2nd. The bird settled on a fourth-floor ledge on a Fifth Avenue apartment building, where it spent the night before flying back early the next morning.

The zoo is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.