By Darla Shelden, City Sentinel reporter –
This story first appeared online on December 31, 2020.
OKLAHOMA CITY – Enjoy live views of the Oklahoma City Zoo’s popular red pandas with the return of the Zoo’s Online Panda Camera. Animal lovers around the world now have the opportunity to spend endless hours observing the endangered red pandas at the zoo this winter from their homes.
Take a virtual tour of the OKC Zoo’s Red Panda Habitat in Sanctuary Asia from your smartphone, computer or tablet to watch Thomas, 7, and his daughter, Khyana, 18 months, play and connect with their keepers and enjoy their favorite time of year, winter.
Until Sunday February 28, 2021, get an exclusive real-time snapshot of the zoo’s adorable red pandas online by visiting okczoo.org/redpandacam .
The red panda camera will broadcast live daily with optimal viewing 10am to 2pm from Khyana or Thomas.
Because red pandas are solitary by nature and Khyana has reached maturity, she and Thomas do not share habitat space.
Khyana and her twin brother Ravi were born in the Asia Habitat of the Zoo Sanctuary on June 2, 2019, to parents Thomas and Leela.
Leela and Thomas both arrived at OKC Zoo in 2018 as part of the Red Panda Species Survival Plan ™ (SSP). SSP programs have been developed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) to help oversee the management of breeding and reproduction and, therefore, the sustainability of certain animal species in zoos and aquariums that are members of the ‘AZA, including the OKC Zoo.
Many of these programs also help strengthen efforts to conserve these species in the wild. This year, Leela and Ravi moved to other AZA member zoos as part of the SSP program to further contribute to the conservation of their species.
In October 2019, Khyana underwent an amputation of her posterior left leg due to a birth defect. She continues to thrive and is extremely active, always exploring her surroundings. Khyana is also keen to engage with her caretakers through training sessions.
Known to be great climbers, red pandas spend most of their lives in trees, even sleeping in branches. Red pandas are about the size of a typical domestic cat. Their bushy, ringed tails add about 18 inches to their length and serve as a type of blanket keeping them warm in cold mountain climates.
Although previously classified as a parent of the giant panda, as well as the raccoon, with which it shares a ringed tail, red pandas are currently considered members of their own unique taxonomic family, the Ailuridae.
The red panda is listed as an endangered species. It is estimated that only 10,000 people remain in the wild, and their habitats in remote areas of the Himalayan mountains, from Nepal to central China, are threatened by deforestation, agriculture, livestock grazing and competition for resources.
Click on the zoo red panda camera for all the kindness you can endure! The Oklahoma City Zoo is open Thursday through Monday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with no public access on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Advance tickets are required for all guests and ZOOfriends members and can be purchased at www.okczoo.org/tickets. Tickets to the zoo are limited each day to maintain social distance between guests.
Regular admission is $ 12 for adults and $ 9 for children 3-11 and those 65 and over. Children two and under are admitted free.
Zoo fans can support the OKC Zoo by becoming a member of ZOOfriends. Starting at $ 45, memberships can be purchased at ZOOfriends.org and give access to the OKC Zoo for an entire year, plus additional benefits and discounts.
To learn more about zoo events, call 405-424-3344 or visit okczoo.org.