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

Prince Rupert Fire Rescue attend an apartment fire on the morning of April 11 in a building at 521 Fulton Str. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Sunday morning fire rouses tenants

Prince Rupert Fire Rescue attended an apartment fire at 521 Fulton St.

Bears are waking up hungry and starting to forage, Conservation Officer Service said on April 9. Prince Residents are advised to keep garbage in sealed containers to lessen bear attraction. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Keep bears wild – they are not teddy bears

Conservation Officer Service warns bears are waking up hungry

Prince Rupert couple Alvin Tait and Loni Martin have postponed their wedding two times due to COVID-19 affecting the marriage rates in Prince Rupert. (Photo: supplied/L.Martin)
No marriages in Prince Rupert in 2021 so far

Weddings down 23.9% in P.R. since COVID-19 with B.C. wedding industry loss at $158 million

Three North Coast organizations are granted funding to promote multiculturalism and support anti-racism, Jennifer Rice MLA announced on April 8. Conrad Elementary School students recognized the first Black Shirt Day on January 15, 2021, to advocate for anti-racism. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
North Coast organizations to benefit from anti-racism funding

$944,000 granted in provincial funding to aid multiculturalism

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has suspended indoor dining at restaurants and pubs until at least April 19 in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. sets new COVID-19 daily record with 1,293 cases Thursday

New order allows workplace closures when infections found

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

B.C. Premier John Horgan responds to questions during a postelection news conference in Vancouver, on Sunday, October 25, 2020. British Columbia’s opposition Liberals and Greens acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic has presented huge challenges for Horgan’s government, but they say Monday’s throne speech must outline a coherent plan for the province’s economic, health, social and environmental future. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP to bring in throne speech in B.C., Opposition wants coherent plan

Farnworth said the budget will include details of government investment in communities and infrastructure

FILE - An arena worker removes the net from the ice after the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames NHL hockey game was postponed due to a positive COVID-19 test result, in Vancouver, British Columbia, in this Wednesday, March 31, 2021, file photo. As vaccinations ramp up past a pace of 3 million a day in the U.S, the NHL is in a tougher spot than the other three major North American professional sports leagues because seven of 31 teams are based on Canada. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP, File)
Vancouver Canucks scheduled to practice Sunday, resume games April 16 after COVID outbreak

Canucks outbreak delayed the team’s season by eight games

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod, seen here on April 9, 2021 with four-year-old sister Elena and mom Vanessa, was born with limb differences. The family, including husband/dad Sean McLeod, is looking for a family puppy that also has a limb difference. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. family looking for puppy with limb difference, just like 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy McLeod born as bilateral amputee, now her family wants to find ‘companion’ puppy for her

A vehicle that was driven through the wall of a parkade at Uptown Shopping Centre and into the nearby Walmart on April 9 was removed through another hole in the wall later that night. (Photo via Saanich Police Department and Ayush Kakkar)
Vehicle launched into B.C. Walmart removed following rescue of trapped workers

Crews cut new hole in parkade wall to remove vehicle safely

Four members with Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans were out at Cultus Lake on March 28 and 29 hauling trash out of the waters. (Henry Wang)
PHOTOS: Out-of-town divers remove 100s of pounds of trash from Cultus Lake

Members of Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans hauled out 470 pounds of trash over two days

As of Saturday, April 10, people born in 1961 are the latest to be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. (Black Press files)
B.C. residents age 60+ can now register to get their COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccine registration is now open to people born in 1961 or earlier

A new saline gargle test, made in B.C., will soon be replacing COVID-19 nasal swab tests for kids. (PHSA screenshot)
Take-home COVID-19 tests available for some B.C. students who fall ill at school

BC Children’s Hospital plans to provide 1,200 kits to Vancouver district schools this April

Most Read