Enter into the world of pandas at the San Diego Zoo Panda Trek! The bamboo forests of China are home to our black-and-white bears, but there are other colorful creatures that live there, too. Gold-colored takins seem to have the horns of a wildebeest, the nose of a moose, and the body of a bison! Their new Panda Trek exhibit has rock outcroppings for these goat-antelope to scamper up and on. In China, both takins and giant pandas are considered to be national treasures. We think they’re pretty special, too!
Another colorful resident is the red panda. Its reddish coat and white face mask offer camouflage among the red moss and white lichen that cover the trees of their bamboo forest home. Although they like to eat bamboo, too, don’t let their name fool you: red pandas are related to raccoons rather than giant pandas. Our Mang Mountain pit vipers are strikingly beautiful with green scales to help them blend into their bamboo habitat.
Your panda trek concludes with a view of our very popular giant pandas! Who can resist their endearing faces and lumbering ways? The San Diego Zoo has had a love affair with giant pandas ever since two of the black-and-white bears came to visit in 1987. In 1996, we worked out an agreement with China to house two adult pandas and their young offspring. An exhibit area was built for our panda guests, which has since been expanded and renovated and is now called the Giant Panda Research Station. Although we currently have four giant pandas (including our newest panda, Xiao Liwu, born on July 29, 2012), our facility can comfortably house up to six. Today our giant pandas enjoy deluxe accommodations with larger exhibit areas and extra vegetation and climbing structures. You’ll enjoy the exhibit area, too, with its great panda-watching opportunities in the two main enclosures.
Next to the public panda viewing area is the building that houses the Giant Panda Team, made up of the pandas’ keepers and researchers who observe and study giant panda biology and behavior in an effort to learn all we can about these endangered bears.
As a Chinese proverb says, “The journey is the reward.” Reward yourself with a visit to Panda Trek.