San Francisco Zoo's newest and perhaps cutest resident has been named Tenzing, after Sherpa Tenzing Norgay who scaled Mt. Everest in 1953 with Sir Edmund Hillary.
The 10-month-old red panda is native to the eastern Himalayas and western China. Tenzing's new home is a custom-made treehouse in the SF Zoo built by the crew from the Animal Planet show "Treehouse Masters."
Philanthropists Barry and Marie Lipman donated $31,000 to win the naming rights for Tenzing.
"I wanted to help the zoo in carrying out its goals of conservation and education,” Lipman said. “By choosing Tenzing, I hope to bring about inquiry and interest in the Himalayas, its animals, its people, and the conquest of Mt. Everest."
Tenzing can usually be seen climbing the treehouse ladders or perched in a shady spot, grazing on his favorite food: bamboo.
Born at the Sacramento Zoo, Tenzing is approximately the size of a raccoon.
According to zoo officials, he has an "outgoing personality, which is unusual for this normally solitary and shy species."
The panda exhibit will open to the public May 10 at 10 a.m. On Mother's Day, May 11, mothers who bring their children to the zoo will receive free admission.
Here's Tenzing exploring his new habitat at the SF Zoo. Photographs by Jessie Greger/ San Francisco Zoo