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September 19, 2017

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Red panda from Fujian makes debut at Taipei Zoo

TAIPEI--One of three red pandas obtained from China's southern Fujian Province made its public debut at the Taipei Zoo Saturday.

Children thronging in front of the animal's enclosure were elated to see Huan Huan peeping out from behind a bush.

"There he is! How lovely he is," they shouted in excitement.

Huan Huan, the only male of the trio, adapted to the new environment more quickly than the others, so he was the first to meet the public, the zoo said.

Huan Huan, weighing in at 4.7 kilograms, is getting along well with his keeper, the zoo said, adding that his diet consists of bamboo, carrot, steamed cornbread and apple.

The animal appeared to be curious about his new environment and explored every corner of his enclosure.

He was also seen to be marking his territory.

As red pandas dislike the heat and cannot tolerate excessively cold weather, the zoo has regular mist sprinkling in the enclosure to maintain an ideal temperature and also has air conditioning in the animal's indoor areas.

The three red pandas arrived June 6, but had spent time in quarantine after their arrival.

They were bred by a research center in Fujian and given to the Taipei Zoo to promote breeding cooperation and help the people of Taiwan to understand the efforts made by China in wildlife protection.

The Taipei Zoo has been trying to breed red pandas for the past 20-odd years, but the attempts have never succeeded,

Red pandas, or Ailurus fulgens, are similar in shape to raccoons and have mostly dark brown fur.

They spend most of the day sleeping in trees, becoming more active in the late afternoon and early evening.

The red panda is a second-class protected animal in China. It is endemic to southern China, the temperate forests of the Himalayas, Nepal, Bhutan, India, Laos and Myanmar.

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