- Scientific name: Ailurus fulgens fulgens
- IUCN status: Endangered
- Habitat: Mountain forests of southern Asia, especially the Himalayas
- Diet: Mainly herbivore – bamboo, grasses, roots, acorns, fruit and occasionally eggs, insects, birds and rodents
Red pandas have thick, dense fur and a long, bushy tail to keep them warm. The fur on the soles of their feet also prevents them from slipping on wet branches. Mainly active at sunrise and sunset, they spend the rest of their time asleep in the trees. Red pandas have become endangered through human activity – the cutting down of their forest homes and the bamboo that forms the main part of their diet.
A special grass
The staple diet of many rare animals including red pandas and some lemurs, bamboo is grown at the zoo for food, screening and habitat enhancement. Depending on the species, this versatile plant flowers every 10 to 20 years but then dies back, so we plant over 25 different species.
Red pandas have an extra ‘thumb’ for gripping food; this is actually an elongated wrist bone. Dublin Zoo’s breeding pair are Beijing and his mate Bamboo.