For this week's segment of "The Zoo's News," we asked the Director of Communications at the Utica Zoo Mike Beck, questions that were submitted by our listeners. This episode answers a handful of questions we received about the Red Pandas.

The first question comes from Shannon in Utica and deals with "adopting" a Red Panda. She wrote to us, saying she saw a sign advertising that you could adopt a Red Panda at the Utica Zoo. She wanted to know if she adopts a Red Panda, would she be able to hold it and feed it, and things like that? We asked Mike Beck this question, to which he replied, "The short answer is no."

In the video (at the top of this page), Mike Beck explains that they have an animal adoption and an animal encounter for the Red Pandas, and it seems like Shannon may be mixing the two things together. He went on to explain that the animal encounter (which is available for a few different animals at the zoo), is where you see people going into that animal's enclosure and being able to feed them and get a closer look at them. Even in the animal encounters though, you can't hold or touch the Red Pandas. Unfortantely, the Red Panda animal encounter is booked for the rest of 2017, but you can still sign up and be put on a waiting list for 2018. You can get more details on the animal encounters by visiting:

Beck then told us what "adopting" an animal means at the Utica Zoo. If you adopt an animal, you don't get to take it home, you don't get to cuddle it, or anything like that. Actually, it depends on how much to give to the Red Pandas, what you get in return. Obviously the more you give, the more you get. You can adopt a Red Panda for around $25 up to how much ever you want to spend. Each level of adoption comes with different perks. Some of the higher levels of adoption include an animal encounter, memberships to the zoo, and other goodies. But to get the full details and prices on animal adoption you can check out the Utica Zoo's website.

The second Red Panda question we looked into was from Joel, who is also from Utica. Joel wrote us asking, "Why are people so obsessed with Red Pandas?"

...It took us a second with this question. Actually, Naomi Lynn who happens to be one of those obsessed with Red Pandas (or part of the "Red Pandemonium" as Mike Beck likes to call it), tried to help answer this question. But there's many reasons for the "obsession" with Red Pandas, and Beck explains them in the video (above).

We want to thank Mike Beck for joining us on another segment of “The Zoo’s News.” If you have any questions about the Utica Zoo, upcoming events, the animals at the zoo (or just on animals in general), you can submit a question at the link below. Who knows?! It may be featured on an upcoming episode of “The Zoo’s News.”




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