(Ailurus fulgens fulgens)
Due to the overwhelming amount of human expansion, these animals are listed as endangered. Not only is their habitat being destroyed, but these animals are also hunted so their furs can be made into hats and coats. It is hard to know for sure how many red pandas are left in the wild, because bamboo forests where they live are very dense. This makes it difficult for an accurate count to be made.
More red pandas have been born at the Knoxville Zoo than at any other zoo in the Western Hemisphere. Only one zoo in Rotterdam, Netherlands, has had more panda cubs born. This fact has just been recognized recently when Knoxville Zoo was awarded the coveted Bean Award, presented by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). It is given to an institution that shows excellence in the husbandry of a particular species.
Red pandas favor remote, high altitude bamboo forests and are excellent tree climbers. The red panda is crepuscular which means that it is active at dawn and dusk. They mark their territories by waddling back and forth over objects and conserve energy in very cold weather by curling up into a ball. In hot weather, they stretch their bodies along branches with their legs dangling over each side. Red pandas like to eat bamboo shoots and leaves, grasses, roots, fruits and acorns. They may also eat insects, eggs, young birds and small rodents.
Red pandas, which at first look may be confused for a dyed raccoon, are found in the mountains in China. Red pandas have fully furred feet for their cold homeland and low energy diet. They can weigh up to 11 pounds and their tails are 11-19 inches long.
Knoxville Zoo currently has 6 adult pandas, 4 females and 2 males.
For more information on red pandas, visit www.redpandanetwork.org