WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- See ya later, Rusty! The National Zoo says two red pandas have been moved from the Zoo to the Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Va.
Rusty and Shama have been moved for breeding purposes. The two red pandas were paired as a result of a breeding recommendation based on the species survival plan, according to Zoo officials. With the addition, SCBI now has four breeding pairs of red pandas.
Shama has successfully bred in the red panda exhibit at the Zoo before, but officials say that increased visitor traffic for giant panda Bao Bao could have compromised successful breeding.
The good news is that keepers say Rusty and Shama are adjusting well to their new surroundings. Rusty immediately began to explore his new enclosure before munching down some bamboo grown onsite at SCBI.
Zoo officials say they are working to bring in one to two non-breeding red pandas to the Zoo's Asia Trail exhibit this spring.
We'll miss Rusty and Shama at the Zoo, but if there's a baby red panda in the future, we're all about this move! Send good vibes and cross your fingers for healthy red panda cubs sometime in the summer!
After a gestation of about 134 days, red pandas have litters of one to four cubs. They stay in the nest for about 90 days, remain close to their mother until the next mating season begins, and reach adult size at about 12 months, according to Zoo officials.