Oregon Zoo’s beloved red pandas Pabu, Mei Mei moving to Montana

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"The timing for this is right, but we’re really going to miss them."

Four month-old red panda cub Pabu. © Oregon Zoo / photo by Michael Durham.

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Oregon Zoo’s beloved red pandas Mei Mei and Pabu are heading to big sky country in March.

The Oregon Zoo announced Thursday that the red pandas are heading to ZooMontana in Billings next month, and the last day for the public to visit them at the Oregon Zoo will be Sunday, March 7.

Officials say the timing of the move is because red pandas are solitary, except in breeding season, and that males are territorial.

“Pabu’s getting too old to stay with his dad now, but he’s still too young to venture off without mom,” keeper Sara Morgan said in a statement.

Pabu’s father, Moshu, will stay in Portland.

“It’s been so much fun to watch Pabu grow, and to see the way Mei Mei has taken care of him,” keeper Sara Morgan said. “The timing for this is right, but we’re really going to miss them.”

Pabu became a social media darling after being born last June with his rambunctious and playful energy.

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