Celebrate This Cute Critter September 16th
September 16th is International Red Panda Day.
International Red Panda Day is celebrated on the third Saturday in September and was created by the Red Panda Network in 2010, to spread awareness of this species that is near extinction. Sadly, there are fewer than 10,000 red pandas that survive in the wild.
Red pandas reside in the Eastern Himalayan region of China, Nepal, Myanmar, and Bhutan. According to National Today, Red pandas were discovered in 1853 and listed as endangered in 2008.
These bamboo munchers are pandas but not closely related to giant pandas. According to Smithsonian Magazine.com, red pandas belong to their own taxonomic family called Ailuridae whereas giant pandas belong to the Ursidae or bear family.
Red pandas are carnivores but rarely eat meat. Instead, they switched to a bamboo-based diet more than two million years ago and will occasionally opt for foods such as fruits, insects, and bird eggs to get themselves the energy they need.
Smithsonian Magazine.com also states that the word “panda” is believed to come from two Nepalese words. The words “nigalya ponya” translate to “bamboo eater”.
The red panda is also one of the few animals that can climb down trees head-first.
The red panda has made an impact in Hollywood.
Master Shifu, played by Dustin Hoffman in Kung Fu Panda is a red panda and the red panda is front and center in the animated film Turning Red.
If you’ve fallen in love with this cute critter after reading this article, you can do what I’ve done and donate to the Red Panda Network and adopt a red panda. You can also head over to World Wildlife.org at the link here and adopt a red panda.
You can see red pandas at Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City.