Lockdown lift: Finding a solution to the Red Panda bamboo shortage

  • Video report by ITV Meridian's Malcolm Shaw

An appeal to help feed a pair of rare Red Pandas at a zoo in Sussex has found an ideal solution. 

Mulan and Maja live at Drusillas Park near Alfriston, and eat two kilograms of fresh bamboo every day. 

It's important the pandas get this large amount of fresh shoots and leaves, as bamboo is very low in nutrition.

However, lockdown has disrupted the normal supply chain because the zoo has been closed to visitors.

The lockdown had caused a shortage of bamboo at Drusillas Park

Meanwhile, a few miles away, bamboo is becoming a problem at the Railway Land Nature Reserve.

Lewes District Council, which owns the site, heard the Red Pandas were running short and decided to take action. 

It started to cut down the bamboo, which is at risk of becoming too invasive at the site and delivered a trailer load to Drusillas.

Chris Bibb, Lewes District Council said the bamboo is a legacy from a former gardener.

He said: "The bamboo shouldn't be here and it doesn't belong in the nature reserve."

  • WATCH: The Red Pandas at Drusillas Park

Mark Kenward, Zoo Animal Manager, Drusillas Park said: "We like to get the bamboo in from people in our local area because it means we have a constant supply, a fresh supply and a variation of different types of bamboo.

"With the recent lockdowns, people haven't been coming out and we've exhausted most of our own supply."

  • Mark Kenward, Zoo Animal Manager, Drusillas Park:

It's hoped this new steady supply of the Red Panda's favourite food will ensure they are in fine form when visitors come and see them again.