ATLANTA, Ga. (WRBL) — Zoo Atlanta is welcoming a new red panda to make its home in Georgia after the death of 14-year-old Idgie in April.
Jackie, a 3-year-old male, came from the Smithsonian’s National Zoo.
“We’re so excited to welcome Jackie to Zoo Atlanta,” said Jennifer Mickelberg, Ph.D., vice president of Collections and Conservation. “The red panda is a species that resonates very keenly with our Members and guests.”
Zoo Atlanta’s Asian Forest complex had been without a fan-favorite red panda for months after the April 2 death of Idgie, a member of “one of its most beloved species,” according to a statement from the zoo.
“This is a species that has an important story to tell about the health and preservation of the forests of Nepal, China, Tibet, India, Bhutan, Burma, and other areas where red pandas still exist, ” Mickelberg said.
Zoo officials say Jackie was moved to Atlanta after a recommendation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Red Panda Species Survival Plan. The organization makes breeding recommendations as well as housing recommendations that help support the species’ success in future generations.
Red pandas are naturally solitary, Zoo Atlanta said, and Jackie will be living in the zoo’s red panda habitat, which officials say has been “especially retrofitted for his species.”
The zoo says there isn’t a guarantee that guests will see him yet, as he is still exploring his new environment.