VIDEO: Meet Sakura, Greater Vancouver Zoo’s newest red panda

Arun, Greater Vancouver Zoo’s resident Red Panda, has a girlfriend. (Ryan Uytdewilligen/Aldergrove Star)Arun, Greater Vancouver Zoo’s resident Red Panda, has a girlfriend. (Ryan Uytdewilligen/Aldergrove Star)
Sakura, Greater Vancouver Zoo’s newest Red Panda. (Cody Gampe/Special to The Star)Sakura, Greater Vancouver Zoo’s newest Red Panda. (Cody Gampe/Special to The Star)
Arun, Greater Vancouver Zoo’s resident Red Panda, has a girlfriend. (Ryan Uytdewilligen/Aldergrove Star)Arun, Greater Vancouver Zoo’s resident Red Panda, has a girlfriend. (Ryan Uytdewilligen/Aldergrove Star)
Arun, Greater Vancouver Zoo’s resident Red Panda, has a girlfriend. (Ryan Uytdewilligen/Aldergrove Star)Arun, Greater Vancouver Zoo’s resident Red Panda, has a girlfriend. (Ryan Uytdewilligen/Aldergrove Star)
Arun, Greater Vancouver Zoo’s resident Red Panda, has a girlfriend. (Ryan Uytdewilligen/Aldergrove Star)Arun, Greater Vancouver Zoo’s resident Red Panda, has a girlfriend. (Ryan Uytdewilligen/Aldergrove Star)
Arun, Greater Vancouver Zoo’s resident Red Panda, has a girlfriend. (Ryan Uytdewilligen/Aldergrove Star)Arun, Greater Vancouver Zoo’s resident Red Panda, has a girlfriend. (Ryan Uytdewilligen/Aldergrove Star)
Arun, Greater Vancouver Zoo’s resident Red Panda, has a girlfriend. (Ryan Uytdewilligen/Aldergrove Star)Arun, Greater Vancouver Zoo’s resident Red Panda, has a girlfriend. (Ryan Uytdewilligen/Aldergrove Star)
Sakura, Greater Vancouver Zoo's newest Red Panda. (Ryan Uytdewilligen/Aldergrove Star)
Sakura and Arun, Greater Vancouver Zoo's Red Pandas, meet in their enclosure. (Cody Gampe/Special to The Star)

Male red panda, Arun has a new friend with the arrival of Sakura at the Greater Vancouver Zoo.

They are both part of the species survival plan, a conservation breeding program around the world that uses facilities like the Greater Vancouver Zoo (GVZ) to begin the process of re-establishing endangered animals back into the wild.

The Aldergrove-based zoo acquired Sakura in early March from the Calgary Zoo, where she resided for the past six years, said Menita Prasad, animal care manager.

“Arun and Sakura turned out to be a genetic match for breeding and we were successfully able to introduce her last week to the enclosure,” Prasad explained. “Unfortunately, we just missed the breeding window, which is January and February for red pandas, who are only fertile for about one to three days in that time.”

Prasad is hopeful, noting the shy but curious Sakura has given birth in the past. The zoo hopes the pair do successfully mate in 2022.

In the meantime, Sakura, a Japanese word meaning cherry blossom, has space of her own that has been added on to Arun’s enclosure so she can get used to her surroundings.

Red pandas are a decreasing endangered species, that are native to the eastern Himalayas in Nepal, Bhutan, and China.

They live to be roughly 12 years old, and according to the World Wildlife Foundation, there are fewer than 10,000 left on the planet.

It’s been a busy month for the zoo, which is currently undergoing construction that will see a brand new entrance and ticketing booth completed this spring.

Prasad said that the zoo additionally joined World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA), a global alliance of regional associations, national federations, zoos and aquariums, dedicated to the care and conservation of animals and their habitats around the world.

“There are only seven other institutions in Canada with this accreditation,” Prasad noted, adding that the process has taken a little under a year to achieve.

READ MORE: 2020 saw release of 505 Oregon spotted frogs, 1,458 tadpoles, and 146 painted turtles

Since 1935, the goal of the WAZA has been to guide, encourage and support the zoos, aquariums, and like‑minded organizations of the world in animal care and welfare, environmental education and global conservation.

The membership consists of nearly 400 institutions and organizations around the world, and this number continues to grow.

“This brings together biologists, universities, and conservationists so we can contribute more globally with out conservation efforts and provide the highest standard of animal welfare,” Prasad said. “It also puts the Fraser Valley onto a more international stage.”

More information on WAZA and what’s happening at the zoo can be found at gvzoo.com.


Have a story tip? Email: newsroom@aldergrovestar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

AldergroveAnimalsLangley Township

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Skeena Bulkley-Valley MP Taylor Bachrach has been working across party lines to have rail safety issues addressed. An April 27, 2020 train derailment blocked five intersecting tracks on the CN rail line in Prince Rupert close to the waterfront on Bill Murray Drive. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Bachrach pushes for rail safety and wants NW voices to be heard

Residents and community leaders are concerned about safety and preparedness in the NW

Over 8000 BC Hydro customers have been affected by the power outage. (BC Hydro outage map)
Power outage affects 8000 BC Hydro customers in Prince Rupert area

BC Hydro has assigned crews to restore power

Josie Pottle rocks out to placing painted rocks by more than 14 different Prince Rupert childcare organization staff and tots for rock gardens around the city to mark May as Childcare Awareness month. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Childcare month is rocking it in Prince Rupert

More than 14 local childcare organizations participated in making rock gardens

Volunteers at the AFFNO drive-in movie theatre night at the Jim Ciccone Centre on May 8, directed traffic and braved the rain before the movies started. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
It was lights, camera, action for AFFNO’s drive-in movie night

Volunteers and moviegoers watched a double feature in both official languages

Pembina Prince Rupert Terminal has entered into a one-year agreement with Mitsui & Co. for the majority of its production for supply to the Asian markets, Pembina announced on May 6th. (Photo: Supplied
Prince Rupert Terminal highlighted in Pembina first quarter

Pembina announced one-year agreement with Mitsui & Co. to supply Asian market

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

Keith MacIntyre - BC Libertarian
Penticton’s Keith MacIntyre new leader of the B.C. Libertarian Party

The Penticton businessman was voted in by members of the party on May 8

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a 'person of interest' in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
Man sought in suspicious Kootenay death found in Lake Country

Philip Toner is a person of interest in the death of Brenda Ware

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP reported to 287 mental health calls between Jan. 1, 2021, and May 1. (Black Press files)
‘It’s not the police’s responsibility to deal with mental health calls’: Vernon RCMP

RCMP remind public to take care of mental health and well-being, while better solutions are sought

Thompson Rivers University campus is in Kamloops, B.C. (KTW file photo)
Thompson Rivers the 1st B.C. university to supply free menstrual products

The university will offer the products this September

Fraser Health is using ‘targeted’ vaccination clinics in high-risk areas of the Lower Mainland. (Fraser Health photo)
B.C.’s COVID-19 decrease continues, 515 new cases Tuesday

426 seriously ill people in hospital, up from 415 Monday

The site of Sunfest, Laketown Ranch, will be open for camping this summer. (Citizen file)
Sunfest country music bash won’t be shining on B.C. in 2021

Annual Vancouver Island Festival cancelled due to COVID-19, along with Laketown Shakedown

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation elected chief councillor Moses Martin, who was also Chantel Moore’s grandfather, speaks to media in Port Alberni on Aug. 16, 2020, during a visit from NDP leader Jagmeet Singh following the police shooting of Chantel Moore. (Elena Rardon photo)
Mother of 2 shot by police in critical condition, says B.C. First Nation chief

Community ‘devastated’ by third member of 1,150-person Vancouver Island nation shot in less than a year

B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham promotes the government’s BuyBC food program in 2019. (B.C. government)
Money running out for fresh fruit, vegetables, milk in B.C. schools

‘Looking at ways to support this type of program,’ minister says

Most Read