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Meet Santa Barbara Zoo’s newest addition: Raj the red panda

The Santa Barbara Zoo
The Santa Barbara Zoo
The Santa Barbara Zoo

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The Santa Barbara Zoo welcomed its newest addition, Raj the red panda, into his habitat on Thursday afternoon.

Raj came to the Zoo in April from the Millbrook School's Trevor Zoo in New York.

Since his arrival, Raj has been acclimating behind the scenes while his habitat underwent renovations to become his new home that he now shares with Mathilda, a Burmese black mountain tortoise.

The Zoo said Raj and Mathilda's species live in similar areas in the wild. The red panda specifically is native to the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China, according to the Zoo.

Red pandas are an endangered species now however because of habitat loss. The Zoo said there are less than an estimated 10,000 red pandas left in the wild.

Despite their appearance, the Zoo said red pandas are not in fact closely related to giant pandas but instead are more akin to raccoons.

They received the name "red panda" before giant pandas were named, and the name "panda" is believed to come from the Nepali word "ponya," meaning "bamboo eater," said the Zoo.

For more information or to find a time to visit Raj in his new home, visit:

Article Topic Follows: Santa Barbara - South County
Santa Barbara
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