HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - On Monday, Japanese giant salamanders Panda, Peace and Maru were welcomed into their new home at the Honolulu Zoo.
The salamanders, two female and one male, were donated by the Asa Zoo in Hiroshima in February 2014 to honor the 55th anniversary of Honolulu and Hiroshima's international relationship.
The Japanese giant salamander is accustomed to temperate forest climates and is considered a national natural treasure in Japan, where the federally protected lizards can grow up to five feet long.
The Honolulu Zoo would be the first to establish a breeding program outside of their natural habitat and are working closely with Asa Zoo veterinarians to create a sustainable habitat for them. This effort includes temperature control, a fish-heavy diet, and a specialized filtrating system.
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell, Zoo Director Linda Santos, Reptile Curator Laura Debnar and Tracy Kubota, the Deputy Director of the Department of Enterprise Services, were all present for the ceremony welcoming the salamanders.