International Red Panda Day 2023

International Red Panda Day (Saturday 16th September 2023) was established to encourage people to learn about these adorable creatures and help save the biome in which they live.

Red Pandas come from Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar and Nepal and live in montane forests with dense bamboo thickets. They typically live for around 15 years on average out in the wild and like to eat bamboo, roots, fruits, eggs, insects and lizards. Despite their name, Red Pandas were actually discovered 48 years before the Giant Panda and are more closely related to Bears and Racoons. They are now classified with Racoons but within their own sub-family.

The red and white fur of a Red Panda acts as great camouflage in the wild, as they live amongst trees that grow white lichen and red moss. This helps them hide from predators such as Snow Leopards and birds of prey. Unfortunately, Red Pandas are currently classified as Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. They are often hunted for their fur and their home is often destroyed due to logging.

A group of Red Pandas is called a sleuth.

Colchester Zoo is home to two Red Pandas, one 12 year old female named Liwei and one 14 year old male named An-An. The two are quite easy to tell apart as Liwei is smaller and darker in colour and often looks like she has a surprised expression on her face due to her white markings. An-An, on the other hand, is lighter in colour and is often said to resemble a teddy bear.

Zoo Keeper, Rachel, shares some interesting facts about Red Pandas in the video below!

Colchester Zoo’s charity, Action for the Wild, has supported Red Panda Network since 2014 and, over that time, has donated a total of £2,271.62. Annual donations help sponsor a forest guardian to monitor and protect Red Panda habitats, as well as educate communities on the importance of the Red Panda. In 2023, Action for the Wild will be making a further contribution of €250.

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