Visitors to Seneca Park Zoo are in for a special treat because the zoo has a new family member, Willie, a 5-year-old red panda.

What You Need To Know

  • Willie is a 5-year-old male red panda

  • Red pandas are native to the Himalayan Mountains

  • There are only about 2,500 red pandas living in the wild

Willie is already making himself comfortable, chewing on some bamboo and getting around his new home with Starlight, a female red panda that has been at zoo for two years. The zoo is hoping they'll breed. 

"It is hard to say whether she loves having a companion or prefers to be alone, but she does seem to be interested at least and what he is doing. They are making some strides. We are keeping our fingers crossed. He is here to stay and they will be together all the time," said Kellee Wolowitz, assistant curator at Seneca Park Zoo.

Zoo-goers snapped plenty of pictures of the duo who eat a specialized diet of bamboo, biscuits, and fruit. 

"This is the first time I have been here and probably 10 years, so everything is pretty new to me. I don’t recognize anything at this point. It is cool to see this," said zoo visitor Mike Loenardi.

Red pandas are critically endangered. The zoo says only about 2,500 red pandas are remaining in the wild and the numbers are decreasing. The Seneca Park Zoo supports the Red Panda Network and is sending donations to help. You can donate online.

Seneca Park Zoo is open daily. Red Panda Week continues through Sunday.