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

Emergency crews on scene after a small plane crashed in a grassy area on the northeast side of Boundary Bay Airport Saturday morning (April 10). A freelancer said the plane caught fire and one person was transported to hospital by BC Emergency Health Services. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Small plane crashes at Delta’s Boundary Bay Airport

Plane appears to have suffered ‘significant’ damage, says freelancer

President of the West Coast Fine Arts Show, Brian Croft, said pandemic restrictions necessitated a shift to an entirely online event this year, running until April 30. (File photo)
The West Fine Art Show shifts to an online-only event amid tighter health orders

Website version retains the flavour of the annual live exhibition

A vaccine-filled needle awaits injection, during a COVID-19 vaccination clinic held Jan. 15, 2021 at Amica White Rock. Community Living B.C.-funded workers learned April 8 that they, too, can now be vaccinated. (Tracy Holmes file photo)
Support workers for those with disabilities given vaccine priority

News shared with Community Living B.C.-funded staff on April 8

British Columbia Attorney General David Eby. (Photo: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Attorney General covers housing, homelessness and justice reform in Surrey Zoom

‘I think it would be really great to hold some sessions in Surrey,’ Eby says of legislative assembly

Scott Wheatley stands with the main Kenyan and Ugandan umpiring crew that he trained at the Nakirebe Complex outside of Kampala in 2020. Wheatley, a member-at-large with Softball B.C. is supporting a recent open letter from the sporting body that calls on the government to reinstate gameplay for kids in organized sports. (Photo: Submitted)
Softball B.C. urges provincial health officer to lift ban on gameplay for kids in organized sports

Sporting body sent open letter to both Bonnie Henry and Adrian Dix

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

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

Ruming Jiang and his dog Chiu Chiu are doing fine following a brush with hypothermia that saw several people work together to get them out of the Fraser River near Langley’s Derby Reach Park on March 25, 2021 (Special to the Advance Times)
Man finds men who rescued him from drowning in B.C.’s Fraser River

A grateful Ruming Jiang says he will thank them again, this time in person when the pandemic ends

The 10-part Netflix series Maid, which is being exclusively shot in Greater Victoria, was filming near Prospect Lake in Saanich last month. (Photo courtesy Fred Haynes)
Province announces $150,000 towards film studio, fulfilling B.C. NDP promise

Investment to fund movie studio feasibility study at Camosun College

Tyson Ginter, 7, is proud of his latest Hot Wheels he recently received by Quesnel RCMP Const. Matt Joyce. (Photo submitted)
B.C. Mountie handing out toy cars to light up children’s faces

‘A lot of times it will be the only interaction they have with the police,’ says Const. Matt Joyce

Most Read