Zoo News

Zoo News - Volume 40, March 2020

Issue link: https://www.e-digitaleditions.com/i/1229682

Contents of this Issue


Page 16 of 23

ZOONEWS MEMBER MAGAZINE • AUTUMN 2020 • 1 7 From the Keeper: Q How long have you worked at Melbourne Zoo? A I have been a Keeper at Melbourne Zoo for just over two years, in the Carnivores and Ungulates department. Q What do you love about being the Red Panda Keeper? A They have wonderfully sweet temperaments and some of the most incredible adaptations for living high up in the treetops – such as completely fur-covered paws (like mittens). Q Can you tell us a little about the Red Pandas at Melbourne Zoo? A Seba has just turned nine; he was born at Taronga Zoo and came to us in 2014. Roshani is 12 and she came to us from Perth Zoo in 2009. As far as individuals go, Seba and Roshani are completely different. Seba is quite bold, demanding food and really comfortable in the presence of new Keepers. Roshani is such a sweet girl, very timid but so rewarding to work with. Once you have gained her trust, she will come down from her tree to say hello every day. Q What's involved in being a Red Panda Keeper? A We feed our Red Pandas fresh bamboo twice a day (first thing in the morning and late in the afternoon). We also spend time cleaning up their exhibits and preparing their food for the next day. Training and enrichment is a huge part of the day – training is about the animals voluntarily participating in their own healthcare activities, so we can weigh them regularly, check their overall health and wellbeing, even hand-inject them with their annual vaccinations (avoiding a stressful sedation entirely). Enrichment is about keeping their environment stimulating and giving them chances to exhibit natural behaviours such as foraging and climbing. Q How do Seba and Roshani usually spend their day? A Just like wild Red Pandas, our pair spend much of their day sleeping. They find a comfortable fork high up in their tree branches where they can catch a cool breeze and snooze the day away. They usually come down to feed when we visit them first thing in the morning. Q What do Seba and Roshani like about their Keepers? A They both seem to really enjoy their training sessions with Keepers. They always have the choice to participate but they are both always eager to engage. It's mentally stimulating for them and also a great bonding time between them and us. Quick facts Favourite snack: they both love bamboo; however, Seba particularly likes a piece of pear for training and Roshani loves dried figs. When to visit: Red Pandas are crepuscular, meaning they are most active in the early mornings and late evenings. You'll have the best chance of seeing Roshani and Seba up and about in the early morning when the zoo first opens. Who's who: although they're kept in separate exhibits Roshani and Seba can be difficult to tell apart. They are similar in size and colour, but you can tell Roshani by the lighter fur on her face. VISIT THEM Come and see the Red Pandas, Seba and Roshani, at Melbourne Zoo. Red Pandas in the wild can eat up to 20,000 leaves of bamboo per day. Did you know? Why are they red? The Red Panda has dual camouflage. The red fur on their top half helps them blend with the bark of trees and protects them from predators above while the dark fur on their lower body helps them stay hidden from predators looking up into the tree branches from below. fyi

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Zoo News - Zoo News - Volume 40, March 2020