Keepers hope new arrival will take chance to get claws into bachelor

Keepers at a wild animal park are hoping that love will blossom between a newly-arrived red panda and the attraction’s resident bachelor.

Wanmei has been shipped in from Copenhagen to Port Lympne Wild Animal Park near Hythe, Kent, in the hope she will hit it off with Tiang Ming.

Tiang Ming moved into a new home at the park earlier this year - and it has space for a family.

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Keepers are now hoping he will catch the eye of fellow red panda Wanmei soon and that a relationship will be struck up between them.

Port Lympne’s animal director, Adrian Harland, said: “Tiang Ming has been living the life of a contented bachelor for the past few years.

“We always hoped that a suitable female would be found to keep him company amongst the trees, bamboo and hideaways in his new home.

“I’m so pleased that Wanmei has joined him and, although she is bossing him about at the moment, I have high hopes that a relationship will blossom.

“Tiang Ming certainly seems chuffed to have some company.”

The red panda is a bushy-tailed mammal the size of a dog that scientists believe is related to racoons and skunks, rather than its namesake, the giant panda.

They live in the forests of south-western China, the Himalayas and Nepal. They are typically solitary in the wild, unless mating, and spend most of their time hanging out in trees.

Mr Harland said: “Wanmei and Tiang Ming are getting used to each other now and she is becoming more confident with her new surroundings.

“She already has a favourite tree which she spends the majority of the time in, just watching what’s going on.

“As she grows in confidence, visitors will be able to see them eating together before returning to their favourite trees.”