Vancouver Humane Society responds to red panda breeding program: “Not about conservation”

Paprika the red panda meets her mate at the Greater Vancouver Zoo | CBC News

The Greater Vancouver Zoo is trying to breed more red pandas, however the Vancouver Humane Society said the program keeps mammals in captivity, while not immediately benefiting animals in the wild.

The Vancouver Humane Society has weighed in on the planned breeding of red pandas at the Greater Vancouver Zoo in a new article from the CBC.

The breeding is part of a “Species Survival Plan”, a program by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) which maintains captive animal populations at AZA facilities. Zoo officials comment that captive bred red pandas could be reintroduced back into the wild “if needed”.

However, the program does not immediately benefit animals in the wild.

Chantelle Archambault, Communications Director for the Vancouver Humane Society, said the organization is disappointed to see the zoo bringing in another red panda for breeding. 

“We know the program brings a lot of financial benefit to the zoo, but the cost of that is there’s more animals who will spend their entire lives in captivity in a foreign and unfamiliar environment that can’t meet all their needs,” said Archambault. 

“Breeding exotic animals halfway around the world to be kept in a zoo their whole life is not about conservation,” she said. 

The two red pandas born at the Greater Vancouver Zoo in June 2022, Maple and Mei Mei, have since been moved to other zoos in Canada.