John Ball Zoo to welcome its first red panda

Wyatt, a red panda coming to John Ball Zoo in 2017. (Courtesy: John Ball Zoo)


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — What’s billed as one of the world’s most adored animals is coming to John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids.

The zoo will welcome its first red panda, named Wyatt, in August. The 5-year-old is coming from the Chattanooga Zoo in Tennessee, according to a John Ball Zoo Facebook post.

Red pandas are considered an endangered animal, with fewer than 10,000 in the wild. The animal is included in the Species Survival Plan breeding program at accredited zoos.

The red panda is a solitary animal in the wild, according to the John Ball Zoo. The zoo plans to house only one red panda in the first year of the new exhibit, which is being built at the top of the venue’s waterfall.

The exhibit is expected to be finished in early August, with Wyatt making his public debut by mid-August.

John Ball Zoo says the red panda is a very smart animal that can be trained to display its paws, underside and mouth, making it easier for zookeepers and staff to care for the animal.