Deep within the Tropical Trail of Reid Park Zoo roams Princess Lily the red panda.
This is the first time red pandas have been displayed in Arizona, according to Red Park Zoo director Jason Jacobs.
The red panda has no relation to the vulnerable giant panda.
"The red panda was actually discovered first and their Chinese name actually means fire fox,” said Jason Jacobs, Reid Park Zoo director.
"She is an adorable animal and such a mixture of a fox, cat, bear, and raccoon all in one,” said Sue Tygielski, Reid Park Zoo general curator.
Starting Saturday, visitors can check out the red panda, which comes from an AZA-accredited zoo in Bloomington, Ill.
The red panda is considered an endangered species with a population of less than 10,000, primarily due to habitat destruction by humans and climate change.
“That's why it's so important that association of zoo and aquarium institutions work with this species and breed them and not only have them in zoos but support their conservation in the wild,” Jacobs said.
Princess Lily, like most red pandas, is curious and sensitive to loud noises.
"Keepers will work to get her to step onto a scale as well as being able to do health exams, it's important that's used to getting touched a little bit so it's really tough but enjoyable work,” Tygielski said.
Lily is fed bamboo, high-fiber biscuits, apples, bananas and her favorite, Craisins.
Reid Park Zoo education staff will provide red panda activities for kids and adults with the goal of educating guests about the importance of conservation.
The zoo has raised $8,000 worth of funds to help preserve the species by working with the Red Panda Network.
In the next month, Princess Lily will be accompanied by a male red panda.
To learn more, visit: https://reidparkzoo.org/event/red-panda-opening-weekend/