photo of red panda suny, full face

Louisville Zoo Gets a Dose of “Sunny D” (Media Release)

Contact:  Kyle Shepherd
(O) 502-238-5331 (C) 502-744-5639  

The Louisville Zoo is “turning red” with the arrival of a new addition: a 1-year-old male red panda named Sundara, though the Zoo is affectionately calling him “Sunny D.” Red pandas have not been at the Louisville Zoo since the 1970s.

“There are so many fun things to learn about this unique species that we haven’t seen at the Zoo since the early days,” said Louisville Zoo Director Dan Maloney. “While one might think they are in the bear family, they are actually in a taxonomic group that shares common traits with mustelids like raccoons, weasels and skunks. We are very excited to have red pandas back at the Zoo and to be sharing this species with Kentuckiana.”

About Sundara “Sunny D”

The new resident comes to the Zoo from the Kansas City Zoo in Kansas City, Missouri. He currently weighs in at 8 lbs. Guests can see him in Glacier Run in the former snowy owl exhibit next to the Splash Park.

About Red Pandas

Red pandas are found in the Himalayan forests in Nepal, India, Bhutan, Myanmar (Burma) and southern China. Red pandas are crepuscular (most active at dusk and dawn), arboreal (tree dwelling) and solitary. They spend most of their day resting to conserve energy. Males can weigh up to 14 lbs.


Red pandas are listed as endangered and decreasing on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. Their major threats include habitat loss and fragmentation, habitat degradation and threats from human interference including hunting and illegal pet trade.

The Zoo is open daily, year-round. The current hours are 10 a.m. ─ 5 p.m. (stay until 6 p.m.) through September 17, 2023. The Zoo is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.

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The Louisville Zoo, the State Zoo of Kentucky, is the top, non-profit, paid attraction in the state. The Zoo is dedicated to bettering the bond between people and our planet by providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for visitors, and leadership in scientific research and conservation education. The Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

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