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Red Panda Temporarily Making Its Home At Bridgeport's Beardsley Zoo

A red panda named Rochan has moved into the Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport. Photo Credit: Beardsley Zoo
Red panda Rochan is enjoying his new digs at Beardsley Zoo. Photo Credit: Beardsley Zoo
Red panda Rochan making himself at home at Beardlsey Zoo. Photo Credit: Beardsley Zoo

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport is the temporary home for Rochan, a 16-month-old male red panda.

Rochan's home exhibit at the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston is undergoing renovations that require him to relocate for a limited time. He is expected to reside at Connecticut's only zoo at least through spring 2016, and guests will find him near the exit of the South American Rainforest Exhibit.

"We couldn't be happier to host Rochan while his digs are being upgraded," said Gregg Dancho, director of the Beardsley Zoo. "Like with any home renovation, we don't have a set time frame that he'll be with us, so we're encouraging people to come see him sooner than later. You don't [want to] miss this opportunity!"

Hailing from the Himalayas and the mountain ranges of southwest China, red pandas resemble raccoons and prefer colder climates. They are solitary animals and are nocturnal by nature. As an adult, Rochan, which means bright in India, is expected to weigh 10 to 12 pounds.

Like their larger and better-known black and white cousins, red pandas primarily eat bamboo but will occasionally eat fruits, berries, young leaves and certain tree bark. Red pandas are vulnerable in the wild, with fewer than 10,000 adult red pandas in existence.

As a result, they are a part of the Association of Zoos and Aquarium's Species Survival Program, which manages specific, typically threatened or endangered species populations.

While visiting Rochan, guests will also enjoy the spooktacular seasonal events happening at the zoo this month, including:

On Oct. 25, Boo at the Zoo will take place from noon to 3 p.m. This spooktacular afternoon includes harvest hayrides and many other seasonal enjoyments.

Scarecrows on Parade (through Oct. 31). Come check out the zoo's scarecrow competition and vote for your favorites. It's free with admission.

Oct. 23, 24, 30, 31: Howl-O-Ween Fridays, 6:30 to 9 p.m. and Saturdays 6:30 to 10 p.m. Spend a truly fun and frightful evening at the zoo featuring a Haunted Hayride, Farmer Beardsley's Farmstead and the Ghastly Greenhouse.

For the more fainthearted, enjoy magic shows, face painting, fortunetellers, dancers and more. Tickets also include free face painting, and, of course, candy.

Admission is $12 per person in advance and for zoo members; $15 per person at the gate. The event is recommended for children ages 6 to 15; however, some of the "scarier" activities may be better suited for children ages 8 and up. To purchase advance tickets, visit beardsleyzoo.org or call Amanda Bolanos at 203-394-6574.

Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo is at 1875 Noble Ave, Bridgeport.

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