ROYAL OAK, Mich. (FOX 2) - The red pandas at the Detroit Zoo are living in new digs this winter.
A 4,000 square foot expansion of their previous habitat debuted Monday, Dec. 10, at the zoo. The new exhibit gives the red pandas more room to play and allows visitors better vantage points.
One of the coolest new features is an 80-foot rope bridge that extends through the trees. The bridge isn't for the pandas, though -- it's for guests to walk along and essentially see these creatures eye-to-eye in the treetops, which is where they spend most of their time.
"[The red pandas] are exciting to watch. They tend to be active in the trees and on the ground, and so it's fun and at the same time it's real conservation work," says Ron Kagan, CEO of the Detroit Zoological Society.
He tells us only about 10,000 red pandas are left in the wild, so they're truly an endangered species.
"We believe this may be the largest red panda habitat in the United States, so it is another one of the great features of this zoo. There are many unique habitats here, unique programs here," he says.
Red pandas usually hang out in small groups or as individuals, and are usually quite difficult to spot them in the wild.
They live essentially in the Himalayas, which is a colder climate so it's appropriate for them to be here in Detroit. Bamboo is their primary food source but they eat other small things as well.