View from the Zoo: Special day will highlight plight of red panda

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A very special day for one of our very cute and popular endangered species at the zoo.

International Red Panda Day on Saturday 17 September will see the staff at Flamingo Land raising awareness and funds for the conservation of this incredible animal.

The zoo currently have two red pandas, a male named Bai Jiao aged four and a female named Tai Jang also four. They both weigh around five kilograms and spend most of their time asleep up in the trees. They are most active during the gloomy hours of dusk and dawn.

A red panda’s diet consists mainly of bamboo (along with fruit and insects) and this is where they get their name from. ‘Panda’ in the Nepalese language means ‘bamboo eater’ so it shares the same name and territory as the giant panda, despite not being related. Red pandas are more closely related to the racoon and share a similar appearance.

The reasons for having an awareness day for red pandas is that unfortunately their wild habitats in Nepal, China, Bhutan and India are being lost due to deforestation.

Red Pandas are also poached for their fur and skins so now there are just 10,000 adults left in the wild. However the ‘Red Panda Network’ works tirelessly to help save the species by setting up protected forest areas, status surveys, awareness workshops and their very own ‘forest guardians’. This conservation project will not only help the red pandas but also the animals they share territory with such as clouded leopards, Himalayan black bears, and hundreds of bird species.

To help support our red pandas we shall be setting up a conservation table with a variety of activities and information all about them. With badges and booklets to be given out, any contributions will be going towards the Red Panda Network and also Flamingo Land’s very own conservation project in Tanzania.

Our pair of red pandas have successfully bred as they had their first cub the in the summer of 2015. The young red panda was moved to another zoo earlier this year. They are trained to come down from the trees so that they can be regularly checked out to ensure they are healthy here at Flamingo Land.