International Red Panda Day
On Saturday 16th September Drusillas Park, East Sussex, will be celebrating International Red Panda Day. Celebrated across the globe, this special day is designed to raise awareness for this beautiful and charismatic species.
Once a year red pandas take centre stage and are put under the spotlight in zoos all over the world. Drusillas’ zoo keepers will be celebrating the day by treating their resident red pandas to a delicious panda cake. Panda cake is a special dietary product, which contains essential vitamins and minerals as well as a high level of fibre and a tasty treat.
Red pandas arrived at Drusillas Park for the first time in 2013 and have proved extremely popular with staff and visitors alike. So much so, that last year the zoo launched a brand new Animal Experience in their honour. The experience allows a member of the public to enjoy a one-to-one close encounter with Mulan and Anmar and feed them their afternoon snack.
In the wild red pandas inhabit the Himalayan mountains of China, India and Nepal where they are threatened by habitat destruction and hunting. Sadly they are now listed as an endangered species, and desperately need our protection and help. Drusillas Park is proud to be playing their part in safeguarding the species and will be continuing to work towards raising awareness for red pandas.
Zoo Manager, Sue Woodgate, said: “Red pandas are absolutely amazing animals, not only are they incredibly sweet but they are actually a very interesting species as well. They are not much bigger than the average house cat and are very shy in temperament. Our red pandas Mulan and Anmar are very friendly once they know who you are and what you are about! The pair are very popular and well-loved at the zoo.”
“For such small animals they have an enormous appetite! Red pandas consume a diet almost entirely of bamboo, with each individual consuming up to 2kg of bamboo a day! They have an extended wrist bone that they can use just like a thumb which helps them to grip and hold things such as bamboo.”
Although sometimes referred to as the lesser panda, these beautiful animals are actually the original panda. They were discovered by westerners in 1825, more than 40 years before giant pandas, who were not scientifically written about until 1869.
Zoo manager, Sue Woodgate, commented: “My favourite fact about red pandas is that they use their big fluffy tails as blankets to keep themselves warm when it’s cold outside. Children in particular love it when they find this out!”
International Red Panda Day is organised by The Red Panda network, who are committed to the conservation of wild red pandas and their habitat through the education and empowerment of local communities. For more information visit www.redpandanetwork.org