Red panda exhibit in Asheville opens on Valentine’s Day


ASHEVILLE, NC (WWAY) — A new red panda exhibit at the western North Carolina Nature Center in Asheville opens Valentine’s Day, but the red pandas are already there.

Workers have been allowing them to explore their habitat for the last couple of months.

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The two pandas are named “Phoenix” and “Leafa.”

They’re at the “Prehistoric Appalachia” exhibit because they are related to a species that lived in the mountains millions of years ago.

Handlers say about 90-percent of their diet is bamboo, but they also eat fruit.

Staff has also been working to get the little creatures ready for visitors, getting them used to crowds, and making sure they know all their cues.