Special day helps to raise plight of red panda in wild

The new red panda cub makes his first appearance at Flamingo Land.
The new red panda cub makes his first appearance at Flamingo Land.

Here at Flamingo Land we have recently celebrated International Red Panda Day.The star of the day was our red panda cub who was spending time out of his nestbox and not only learning to walk around on his four legs but also climbing around on some of the trees.

He is still being helped by mum Tai Jang but he is becoming more active all the time. He was born on June 17, so at three months old this is the ideal time for our guests to see him.

As our red pandas are arboreal they do spend a lot of time snoozing up in the trees and can be hard to spot! They are most active during the gloomy hours of dusk and dawn.

Red Panda Day helps zoos like ours to raise awareness of the difficulties the species face in their wild habitats due to deforestation in Nepal, China, Bhutan and India. Red pandas are also poached for their fur and skins as well as the illegal pet trade and now number just 10,000 adults in the wild.

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 red pandas at Flamingo Land are part of an international breeding programme so as our new red panda cub gets older we will be moving him on to another zoo so he can father cubs of his own in the future.

As the climate in the UK is similar to that of their natural habitat they do tend to thrive in captivity in this part of the world. Should it get too cold like it can in the Himalayas then our red pandas can wrap their fluffy tails around their bodies like a duvet to keep them warm.

Here at Flamingo Land our red pandas can live up to 14 whereas in the wild they tend to live to between eight and 10 years.

Bai Jiao, our male, and Tai Jang, our female, are both six years old. The new cub is going to be named soon.