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Meet Ruskan, Atascadero zoo's red panda, at Saturday event

Visitors will be able to meet Ruskan, a 2-year-old male red panda, on Saturday at the Charles Paddock Zoo.
Visitors will be able to meet Ruskan, a 2-year-old male red panda, on Saturday at the Charles Paddock Zoo.

Atascadero's Charles Paddock Zoo will unveil its red panda to visitors for the first time Saturday at its third annual Conservation Celebration.

The red panda, a 2-year-old male named Ruskan, arrived in 2010 but hasn't been shown yet because his exhibit is still being planned. A female mate will be brought in sometime next year to join him, officials said.

Red pandas are raccoon-sized mammals from the southern foothills of the Himalaya mountains in Asia.

The Conservation Celebration, set for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., will also feature talks about rainwater harvesting and creating worm bins. A group activity is planned to build a butterfly garden at the zoo and to learn about bees.

There will also be animal talks from zookeepers, rain barrel painting and face painting.

Local organizations will set up informational booths on the environment, animals, solar energy and other industries.

The celebration activities are free with zoo admission. Entry is $4 for visitors ages 3 to 11; $5 for visitors age 12 and older; and $4.25 for visitors age 65 and older.

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