With the decline of available opportunities to live and thrive in their natural habitat, Red Pandas are struggling. International Red Panda Day hopes to encourage people to learn about these adorable creatures and help save the biome in which they live.
History of International Red Panda Day
Red pandas are native to the Eastern Himalayas and can sometimes still be found roaming there. These animals spend most of their lives in trees and even sleep aloft. When foraging, they are mostly nocturnal but they also forage in the gloaming hours of dusk and dawn.
Due to the encroachment of human activity and expansion, these rust-colored creatures are experiencing a loss of nesting trees and bamboo, leading to a decline in the population. With less than 10,000 in the wild efforts are doubled every year to help these little firefoxes!
Red pandas are smaller than many people expect, since their name is often associated with the giant panda. In fact, these little creatures typically only grow to about the size of a house cat, though their big, bushy tails add an additional 18 inches to their size. Red pandas have a taste for bamboo but, unlike their larger relatives, they eat many other foods as well—fruit, acorns, roots, and even eggs. Like giant pandas, they have an extended wrist bone that functions almost like a thumb and greatly aids their grip when climbing.
How to celebrate International Red Panda Day
Celebrating this day can range from simply telling a friend to traveling to the place where the Red Panda is native. Try these ideas for celebrating International Red Panda Day:
Visit Red Pandas at a Local Zoo
Head to your local zoo and support those who are helping to save the lives of these lovable creatures and their habitats. But do be sure to keep your eyes peeled–these little guys can be a little bit hard to spot. Spending a lot of their time in trees, they are often difficult to see in their enclosures at the zoo.
Learn Fun Facts About Red Pandas
To help make others aware of the plight of these cute little animals, share some fun facts and bits of trivia on International Panda Day:
- Red Pandas spend approximately 55% of their days sleeping. They are most active early in the morning, when they tend to forage for breakfast.
- Typically solitary creatures, Red Pandas prefer to live and dwell alone, Red Pandas don’t usually gather together for social reasons but only join together in pairs during breeding seasons, when they communicate through body language such as head bobbing or tail arching.
- Red Pandas are not actually bears. In fact, they are the only living members of their taxonomic family, the Ailuridae family. This means they are not actually related to Giant Pandas, but they do have a few things in common with them, including their propensity to eat bamboo. Really, they are more like racoons than bears.
- Red Pandas love snow. In fact, because of the contrast between the color of their fur and the snow, a wintery day may be one of the best times to be able to spot a Red Panda in their outside habitat at the zoo.
Take a Red Panda Ecotrip
Join together a love of travel with a way to help these little animals. Red Panda Network offers Eco Trips, which allow participants to visit one of the most biodiverse places in the world and become educated on the needs to prevent forest exploitation. Enjoy a small group experience and local hospitality while participating in community-based conservation efforts. Plus, these trips will offer opportunities to see Red Pandas in the wild!
After the trip, come home and tell others about the plight of the Red Panda and become an advocate to help others see the need. It’s a win-win!
Make an Impact for Red Pandas
Red Panda Network offers suggestions and facilitates ways humans can help these little creatures to survive and improve their situation. Whether giving a donation, holding a fundraising event, raising awareness or becoming a ‘panda guardian’, many options are available for doing a little bit to help out.
The network is regularly recruiting volunteers to become Red Panda Ambassadors, who are encouraged to get involved with the “panda-monium” that takes place around the love for these furry creatures. Join in on the action for International Red Panda Day!