I was born July 23, 2017 right here at the Edmonton Valley Zoo. Though my peeps are from the Eastern Himalayan mountains of Nepal, Bhutan, China, and area, I am a proud Edmontonian. My parents Pip and Kalden are long-time residents. In fact, Mama Pip was born here, too! The red panda maternity wards are soooo posh, my mom’s nesting box had teeny tiny cameras so the zookeepers and vet team could take a peek at any time. Man, I love technology!
I’m bold, adventurous, curious, and outgoing. Nothing holds me back. I blaze forward, a fearless explorer, going where no red panda has gone before. I’m first on the scene to investigate anything new. I’ve been referred to as a “tiny little firecracker.” That’s me, a whole lot of sizzle!
Bamboo, the staple food of my people, is delicious but I also adore grapes (just like my mama!). Actually, I LOVE all fruit – apples, bananas, pears, you name it. I also like the satisfying crunch of those hard leaf eater biscuits. Yum-yum! My keepers say that I am very food motivated. Glad to see they’re paying attention.
Chasing around a feeder ball or kong filled with leaf eater biscuits is excellent fun. After I wrangle out all the biscuits it’s time climb a tree and find a high branch for a little snooze. I’m a big advocate of a balanced life…. EAT-PLAY-SLEEP-REPEAT.
I’m a rough houser. You know, pounce, rear, jump, tumble, wrestle, run around. It keeps me fit and ready for action. Secretly, my dream is to be a stunt panda for the movies. Did I mention that I am an excellent climber? The two skyscraper-tall elm trees in our new home are epic fun! The other day, I ascended the highest tree in our habitat – great view from up there. Dad got nervous so he climbed up after me, grabbed my tail between his teeth and attempted to drag me down. I held my position firm and steady, like a warrior. Thank you, curved, razor-sharp claws. Dad finally accepted defeat and retreated down the tree. Ha! Empress Paprika, Ruler of the Land, Leader of the Pandas. Has a nice ring to it!
After I polish off my breakfast I get the Zoo-mies and race about at warp speed, jumping and climbing for about 10 minutes. Then, I nap… being spunky takes a lot of energy.
I’m a smart cookie and learn fast. Being food-motivated helps. One of the first things I learned was to walk into my crate. It’s a nice cozy retreat and makes transporting me a snap. I can also hop on a scale to be weighed and walk on a harness. One day, I expect to sashay around the zoo grounds, bedazzling visitors with my splendour, waving my striped tail, and giving them a Get Closer chance of a lifetime. Future training goals include holding still for a routine blood draw.
MESSAGE TO THE TWO-LEGGED ANIMALS
Everyone loves us red pandas. We are irresistibly adorable and busting with charisma… but we need your help. Our numbers in the wild are dangerously low, and our conservation status is endangered. The Edmonton Valley Zoo breeds pandas (like me!) as part of the Species Survival Plan (SSP), which is a coordinated international breeding program for endangered species (also me!). The zoo also supports the Red Panda Network.One way you can help is to learn more about red pandas and support organizations that promote our wellness.