Hi! I’m Ari the Red Panda
Despite sharing the name, red pandas are not related to the black and white giant panda. They are classed in their own subfamily within the racoon family. However, like giant pandas, they are classed as a carnivore, but are mainly vegetarian. They eat berries, blossoms, leaves, fruits, acorns, bird eggs and large quantities of bamboo. The red pandas stomach and digestive system is similar to other carnivores, having a simple stomach and a short intestine (meaning it is designed to digest meat not plant matter). This means it cannot properly digest the bamboo and therefore gets very little nutrition from it. To overcome this problem the red panda has a very low metabolism rate and spends most of the day eating.
As with many threatened species these days, one of their biggest threats is competition with humans. The natural habitat that has supported these, and many other animals for thousands of years, is rapidly being destroyed. Various conservation organisations such as the Red Panda Network are working to preserve and protect their remaining habitat and give hope for their ongoing survival.
The National Zoo & Aquarium is home to 5 red pandas; Eilish & Tenzin and their offspring Ari, plus Eilish’s nephews Nima and Dawa. The zoo is part of a regional breeding program for red pandas.
Red Panda Facts
|Distribution||Nepal, India, south-west China, Laos, Myanmar, Bhutan|
|Life Span||12–14 years|