1-Year-Old Red Panda at British Zoo Already Has His Eye on a Mate

Zookeepers said Koda was shy at pursuing Nima at first.

This little red panda may be the Chester Zoo’s newest resident, but a lady red panda has already caught his eye.

Koda, a 1-year-old male, was brought over from another zoo in the U.K. after he was selected as the perfect genetic match for resident female red panda, Nima.

“Although slightly shy at the beginning, he soon built up enough confidence to introduce himself to our resident female, Nima — which is a really encouraging sign,” The zoo’s curator of mammals, Tim Rowlands, said in a statement. “Hopefully, Koda and Nima go on to have a family of their own together.”

He explained the zoo’s efforts to introduce the pair are a result of the species’ being officially declared endangered due to poaching and habitat loss.

There are less than 10,000 red pandas remaining in the wild, a 40 percent decrease in 50 years, according to officials.

"His genetics are absolutely vital to the future conservation breeding of red pandas, as habitat loss, the illegal wildlife trade and poaching pushes their numbers to a new low in the wild," Rowlands said.

For now, Koda is adjusting to his new environment.

"Koda, spent the first few days exploring his new home, climbing trees and chewing his way through lots of bamboo," Rowlands said. "He’s settled in really well."