Red Panda

Red Panda (Ailurus fulgens)

Rocco the young red panda
Judith Wolfe

Rocco, the young male panda

Zoo collection includes: A young female named Amaya and a male named Biru. Red pandas are part of the Species Survival Plan (SSP), in which many zoos, such as the CPZ, take part. Since the number of Red pandas is unknown in the wild, the goal of the SSP is to build a captive population- genetically varied- in case the wild population becomes extinct. Red pandas are hard to breed. A female Red panda may only go through estrus once a year and be receptive for an 18-24 hour period. If this does not coincide with a male’s territory, and if his sperm is not viable during this period, then the female will not conceive.

Found in the wild: The Himalayan foothills of southwestern China, Tibet, northern Myanmar, and Nepal. Red pandas live in temperate forests at elevations of 4,900 to 13,000 feet.

See Them at the Central Park Zoo: The Temperate Zone is home to our Red Pandas, also known in Chinese as “hun-ho” or “fire-fox”.
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Description: The Lesser panda, or Red panda, is a bright reddish brown color. It has a white, masked face and a long, ringed tail resembling that of a raccoon. Red pandas may weigh up to 13 lbs and may reach a length of 25 inches. This mild-mannered animal will defend its territory by standing on its hind legs and using those sharp claws to strike out if threatened. If that doesn't work at keeping enemies away, the panda can release a strong odor from scent glands at the base of the tail. Red pandas can also make a variety of calls, including shrill cries, whistles, and a birdlike chirp.

Goodwin and Jen, Red Pandas
Judith Wolfe
            Goodwin and Jen up in their tree

Zoo Panda Habitat:  Look for our red pandas high up in the trees in their spacious, green home. They are excellent climbers and often sleep away the day.

What do they eat: 99% of their diet is bamboo, but they may also on occasion eat roots, grasses, fruits, bird eggs, and small rodents.  At the CPZ, the pandas are fed high fiber biscuits and bamboo.

Life span:  8 to 10 years in the wild and many Zoo pandas can live beyond 15 years.

Threats: Clouded leopards, Snow leopards, wild dogs, deforestation, and animal trade.

Fun Facts: Bamboo is not a great food source for energy and is hard to digest. Red pandas need to eat 20 to 30 percent of their body weight each day — about 2 to 4 pounds of bamboo shoots and leaves.  Many people are more familiar with giant pandas than red pandas, but the red pandas were introduced to Europeans in 1821 and described to Western science in 1825—more than 40 years before giant pandas were scientifically described in 1869. In the wild Red pandas are active at dawn and dusk and may search 13 hours for food and sleep the day away. Just like its raccoon relatives, the red panda dips its paws into water when it needs a drink.


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