Galloway park red panda boosts breeding plans

Red panda The two red pandas in southern Scotland are part of a European captive breeding programme

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A male red panda has arrived at a conservation park in southern Scotland as part of a European captive breeding programme.

The animal, named Ruben, has come from Paignton Zoo in Devon.

He joins a female, Pichu, at the Galloway Wildlife Conservation Park near Kirkcudbright.

Found in India, Nepal and China, the red panda is an endangered species, with fewer than 2,500 adults remaining across the world.

The park's female panda sparked a major search operation in February 2008 when she escaped along with a cub named Isla.

Pichu was found safe and well more than two months later but the cub was discovered badly injured by side of the Kippford to Dalbeattie road in October 2009 and died from her injuries.

The arrival of Ruben means there are now two red pandas at the park.

Two younger animals - named Cai and Laing - have been sent to Amiens in France and Amsterdam in the Netherlands to boost zoo breeding programmes in those countries.

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