Today, the SF Zoo announced the name of its new red panda. The 10-month-old male is named Tenzing, after the famed Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, who scaled Mount Everest in 1953 with Sir Edmund Hillary.
The name was announced today during a special ceremony at the zoo by Zoo Emeritus Board member Barry Lipman and his wife, Marie, who purchased the naming rights for $31,000.
"I wanted to help the Zoo in carrying out its goals of conservation and education,” said Mr. Lipman. “By choosing Tenzing, I hope to bring about inquiry and interest in the Himalayas, its animals, its people, and the conquest of Mount Everest."
Tenzing will live in a treehouse enclosure built specially for him by Pete Nelson of Animal Planet's Treehouse Masters, a TV series that showcases unique treehouses. Nelson, who was also on-hand during the naming announcement, said, “It's not every day I get to build a treehouse for a panda, so I couldn't pass up the opportunity for my first four-legged client.” An episode about the construction of Tenzing's enclosure will air on Animal Planet June 6.
Tenzing was born in the Sacramento Zoo and is roughly the size of a raccoon. He will be on view to the general public starting on Saturday, May 10 at 10 a.m.
The SF Zoo notes that visitors will likely be attracted by what it calls Tenzing's "extreme cuteness." Indeed, the panda is very cute: