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Red Panda

Everybody loves Panda Bears, but most have no clue that there are actually 2 different kinds of Panda Bear. Like the Giant Panda Bear, the smaller RED PANDA can also be found in parts of China. As popular as the black & white Panda Bear may be, most people have never heard that a separate species of Panda exists. The Red Panda, also known as the “Lesser Panda”, is considerably smaller than the Giant Panda. While the Giant Panda Bear may weigh up to 400 pounds, the “Lesser Red Panda” rarely achieves a weight greater than 20 pounds. This is one of many reasons why scientists are having so much trouble and debate trying to classify the two species of Panda. Some think the Giant Panda and the Red Panda are very close cousins and some hypothesize that they are from two distinctly separate evolutionary tree branches.

Although the Sanctuary does not currently house Red Panda’s, Dave and I felt compelled to write about them. Like the beautiful Ruffed Lemur, the Panda internationally instills an interest in wildlife and its protection from the public. In fact a WEBSITE QUESTION we received inspired this little “Red Panda” bit from a little girl asking some great Panda Bear questions.

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Red Panda
Red Panda Picture

Anyhow, back to some cool Red Panda Bear facts! Both Panda Bear species are classified as “Carnivore”; even though everyone knows the Giant Panda Bear primarily eats Bamboo. The Red Panda eats primarily bamboo, fruits, grasses, roots, and young tender sprouts, but will opportunistically eat bugs and animal protein when available. Still, hardly a true “Carnivore”. I am happy I am not the taxonomist in charge of figuring it all out. The classification of plants and animals is an extreme science, which constantly changes with each new scientific discovery.

I could write on and on about Red Pandas! David and I have always been fascinated with this species and dream of one day having the privilege to work with them. They are extremely cute animals with fantastic personalities. They have a brilliant Red coat with a red-banded tail similar to that of a Raccoon. They have an extremely short reproductive window of less then 24 hours annually. If breeding is successful, the female will deliver on average two “closed eyed” babies. These little babies weigh about 150 – 210 grams at birth, which is considerably heavier then that of a newborn Giant Panda Bear.

Like the Giant Panda Bear that everyone is familiar with, the Red Panda is also an internationally “Protected Species”. The Red Panda, or Lesser Panda, (Ailurus fulgens) is on APPENDIX 2 of CITES (Convention International Trade of Endangered Species). This and every other plant and animal on Earth deserves our protection! Please help us at www.tigerhomes.org spread the word! In the meantime, David and I hope you not only enjoy, but also learn from the animals and WEB CAMS that reside at the Sanctuary.

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