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New red panda exhibit to soon open at Charles Paddock Zoo 

—The Charles Paddock Zoo is planning to open the newly constructed red panda exhibit in Aug. 2018, marking a new Biodiversity Hotspot exhibit that is eco-friendly and encourages public interaction. Groundbreaking for the “Thelma Vetter Red Panda Exhibit” started in late 2016.

A Biodiversity Hotspot exhibit will focus on being an “immersive and interactive journey with both passive and dynamic features to educate visitors about the culture, plant life, extinction or other threats to each animal,” according to a 2015 City of Atascadero press release.

While the final stages of construction and preparation are occurring, the red pandas are going through the quarantine process, along with other species such as the Muntjac deer. Air transportation of the red pandas was difficult as some airlines have updated policies regarding animal restrictions; however, a solution was found and the red pandas were safely delivered to the zoo.

“We’re very excited about this terrific new exhibit…we want to thank again the generosity of Thelma Vetter Trust and Thelma Vetter for building this exhibit for us,” said city manager Rachelle Rickard at the Atascadero City Council meeting on June 26.

For more information regarding the new exhibit, visit

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