Exmoor Zoo welcomes two endangered red pandas after Bristol Zoo shuts

The two red pandas are part of the European breeding programme for Red Pandas which are Endangered species. Credit: Chris Beek

A pair of endangered red pandas have arrived at a zoo in Devon where they will now live in a specially designed enclosure.

The couple, called Shifumi and Pan, have made the move to Exmoor Zoo following the closure of Bristol Zoo Gardens in Clifton.

The three-year-old female and two-year-old male are part of a European breeding programme.

It's estimated there are only around 10,000 of the species left, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

That is because the animal's natural habitat in the Himalayan mountains of Nepal and northern Myanmar, as well as central China, are often subject to logging and replaced with agriculture.

Each red panda will eat around 30% of it's bodyweight in food every day Credit: Chris Beek

But despite being far from their natural habitat, the pair should "feel at home" with Exmoor's winters - according to Exmoor Zoo director Danny Reynolds.

He said: "Like Nepal, we rarely go a winter without snow. Hopefully, this will encourage them to breed and contribute to the European breeding programme which we are excited to be a part of."

Although called pandas, the furry animals were classified by scientists last year as being closer relatives to skunks than pandas or bears.

The public are now able to view the pair at Exmoor Zoo in their specially designed enclosure Credit: Chris Beek

The red panda's fur helps them to camouflage themselves against the reddish-brown moss covered fir trees within their range, helping them to stay undetected by predators such as snow leopards.

They also have a 'fake thumb', which is actually an extension of their wrist bone, but allows them to climb bamboo, which they are keen on.

Each animal will eat around 30% of their body weight every single day and keepers at Exmoor Zoo say the pair are already getting through lots of bamboo.