A ZOO is toasting the arrival of two new residents – amid hopes there could soon be the patter of even more tiny feet.

A pair of red pandas have joined the host of animals at Flamingo Land, at Kirby Misperton, near Pickering.

Bai Jiao, a male, and female Tai Jang are both 18-months-old and have travelled to North Yorkshire from, the Cotswold Wildlife Park and Rotterdam Zoo.

Native to China and Himalayan countries, the species is officially listed as vulnerable, largely because of habitat loss and poaching, and the new arrivals will form part of an international breeding programme.

Similar to a raccoon in appearance and predominantly red in colour, their diet consists mostly of bamboo – although, despite their name, they are no relation to the giant panda.

“We are all very excited about our new arrivals,” said zoo spokesman Sarah Mills. “We are very hopeful, there could be some babies later this year.”

Flamingo Land Zoo is open at weekends and school holidays during the winter, and visitors can find the red pandas in an enclosure next to the Sumatran tigers. The theme park opens again daily from March 29.