- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 25, 2018

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) - A zoo in western North Carolina will be getting some red pandas this fall.

Media outlets reported that Asheville City Council this week approved about $185,000 to build a red panda exhibit and breeding project area at the Western North Carolina Nature Center.

Nature Center Director Chris Gentile concedes that red pandas are not native to western North Carolina like the bears and coyotes and some other animals at the compound. But Gentile says animals similar to the red panda lived in the Southern Appalachians millions of years ago.

The exhibit will include a den and breeding area, as well as an interpretive exhibit and viewing area.

Construction is to begin later this spring. The zoo already is growing bamboo to feed them.

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