Red panda breeding programme in Galloway welcomes new male

Red panda
New red panda arrives Photo: itv border

A new male red panda called Ruben has been welcomed at the Galloway Wildlife Conservation Park near Kirkcudbright.

The one year old has been brought from Paignton Zoo to breed with the resident female, Pitchu.

Ruben's arrival means that there are now two red pandas at the conservation park but getting them together is a problem as they are just as shy as Giant Pandas when it comes to mating.

In fact they only breed once every year.

Ruben was been brought in as part of the European captive breeding programme, introduced because the number of red pandas has been in decline.

There are only around 2,500 red pandas left in the world.

They mainly eat bamboo and their habitat mainly in China, northern India and Nepal is being squeezed by farming and other human activities.

The animal keepers have successfully bred Pitchu before.

Two cubs from 2009 called Cai and Laing are now in zoos in Amiens in France and Amsterdam in Holland helping with their breeding programmes.

But despite the success of the red pandas the conservation park has been struggling financially and nearly had to close last year.

However now the park's successfully changed its status and hopes to have secured its future as a education and conservation centre.

We have become a charity which is Galloway Wildlife Conservation Trust that way we can apply for funding and to develop more projects at the park.

– Kathryn Denerley, Owner of Galloway Wildlife Conservation Park