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

Photo collage of loved ones lost to substance use and overdose. (Photo courtesy Moms Stop The Harm)
B.C. overdose deaths still rising five years after public health emergency declared

Moms Stop the Harm calls on B.C. to provide safe supply in response to deadly illicit drug use

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

The new 3,500 hectare conservancy in Tahltan territory is located next to Mount Edziza Provincial Park. (BC Parks Photo)
New conservancy protects sacred Tahltan land near Mount Edziza Provincial Park

Project is a collaboration between Skeena Resources, conservation groups and the TCG

Mabel Todd, 83, of the Nak’azdli First Nation, leads a group of family members and advocates of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls as they walk along the so-called Highway of Tears in Moricetown, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Province, feds fund full cell service along ‘Highway of Tears’ following years of advocacy

A ‘critical milestone in helping prevent future tragedies’ after at least 10 Indigenous women murdered, missing along the route

Erin O’Toole, Conservative Party of Canada leader, answered questions during a Terrace District Chamber of Commerce event on April 6, 2021. (Screenshot/Terrace District Chamber of Commerce Facebook)
Erin O’Toole discusses Terrace issues during virtual event

Federal Conservative leader answered questions during a Terrace & District Chamber of Commerce event

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has restricted indoor dining at all restaurants in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 indoor dining, drinking ban extending into May

Restaurant association says patio rules to be clarified

Titanic was the largest and most luxurious ship in the world. Photo provided and colourized by Jiri Ferdinand.
QUIZ: How much do you know about the world’s most famous shipwreck?

Titanic sank 109 years ago today, after hitting an iceberg

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
Tougher COVID-19 restrictions in B.C., including travel, still ‘on the table’: Horgan

John Horgan says travel restrictions will be discussed Wednesday by the provincial cabinet

Protesters occupied a road leading to Fairy Creek Watershed near Port Renfrew. (Submitted photo)
B.C. First Nation says logging activist interference not welcome at Fairy Creek

Vancouver Island’s Pacheedaht concerned about increasing polarization over forestry activities

Flow Academy is not accepting membership applications from anybody who has received a dose of the vaccine, according to a password-protected membership application form. (Submitted image)
B.C. martial arts gym refusing patrons who have been vaccinated, wear masks

Interior Health has already issued a ticket to Flow Academy for non-compliance with public health orders

Guinevere, lovingly referred to by Jackee Sullivan and her family as Gwenny, is in need of a gynecological surgery. The family is raising money to help offset the cost of the procedure. (Jackee Sullivan/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Langley lizard’s owners raise funds for gynecological surgery

The young reptile is scheduled for operation on Tuesday

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Facebook screenshot of the sea lion on Holberg Road. (Greg Clarke Facebook video)
VIDEO: Sea lion randomly spotted on remote B.C. logging road

Greg Clarke was driving home on the Holberg Road April 12, when he saw a large sea lion.

Defence counsel for the accused entered two not guilty pleas by phone to Grand Forks Provincial Court Tuesday, Jan. 12. File photo
B.C. seafood company owner fined $25K for eating receipt, obstructing DFO inspection

Richmond company Tenshi Seafood is facing $75,000 in fines as decided March 4 by a provincial court judge

Most Read