“Firefox”–the Red Panda

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Red Panda, Sedgwick County Zoo, Wichita, Kansas. 2013.

The Red Panda (aka “firefox,” lesser panda or red bear-cat) is not related to the raccoon or the bear, although they used to be classified in those families.  These musteloids (related to otters, weasels and badgers) have been placed in their own family, the Ailuridae.  Although musteloids are considered small, carnivorous mammals, the Red Panda mainly consumes tender bamboo.  Two species of Red Pandas are found in southwest China and Nepal.  The numbers of these animals are diminishing in their native regions; they are considered a vulnerable species.  Due to this, zoos in North America have developed a Species Survival Program (or SSP), a studbook which tracks all matings of Red Pandas.

This Red Panda lives at the Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, Kansas.  We visited the zoo in March of 2013.  Although it was chilly for us humans, I think the panda seemed right at home.

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