Belfast Telegraph

Schoolchildren welcome latest arrival at Belfast Zoo

Children from Belfast's Fleming Fulton School's primary five class have been called upon to welcome the latest arrival at Belfast Zoo - Vixen the female red panda.

Vixen arrived from Dresden Zoo in Germany on Friday, 27 April and was introduced to male panda, Chris, on Tuesday.

Along with the team at Botanical Gardens, the children of Fleming Fulton were asked to welcome Vixen by collecting and delivering bamboo to her new home.

Bamboo makes up the biggest part of the red panda's diet and the group gathered to create a feast fit for the new arrival.

Fleming Fulton teacher, Miss Wilson, said: "You can imagine our delight at being selected to be one of the first people to see Vixen the red panda in her new home and to take part in this project.

"Learning outside the classroom in the park and at the zoo provides the perfect platform for the children to discover and learn about the world around us, biodiversity and conservation.  This experience is something which I am sure they will never forget.”

Zoo manager, Alyn Cairns, added: "We would like to take this opportunity to thank Botanic Gardens and the P5 class for their help. 

"Red pandas are found in the forests of the Himalayan Mountains.  It gets its name from the fiery colour of the coat and in China is called the ‘hon ho’ which means ‘fire fox’. 

"For this reason, Belfast Zoo keepers have named the new arrival ‘Vixen’.  

"This stunning species is facing a high risk of extinction in the wild and is even extinct in some regions of China, demonstrating the importance of zoos and their role in the conservation of the red panda through collaborative breeding programmes.  We look forward to hearing the pitter patter of little panda feet in the future.”

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