Thursday 19 April 2012: Red panda
Another beautiful day, so I decided to visit the Cincinnati Zoo. I took quite a lot of shots, but I was disappointed with many of them having got them onto the computer, and have deleted a lot. Some of my favorites were those I took of the Red panda. On previous visits when I've seen them, they've just been lying up in the branches not moving, but today one of them was quite active and came down from the tree and started eating some bamboo shoots. Distantly related to the much larger, better-known black-and-white giant panda, the red panda is a solitary creature found in the mountains of Nepal, Myanmar, and central China. They spend most of their lives in trees and even sleep aloft. When foraging, they are most active at night as well as in the gloaming hours of dusk and dawn.
Red pandas have a taste for bamboo but, unlike their larger relatives, they eat many other foods as well-fruit, acorns, roots, and eggs. Like giant pandas, they have an extended wrist bone that functions almost like a thumb and greatly aids their grip. Red pandas are listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, victims of deforestation. Their natural space is shrinking as more and more forests are destroyed by logging and the spread of agriculture.
Since the last time I was there, a little over a year ago, the zoo has installed solar canopies over the main car park, which not only will provide the zoo with about 20% of its energy needs, but also has the added benefit of providing shade for the cars parked underneath, so they're not like an oven when you return to them at the end of a day at the zoo - quite a clever idea I thought.
Worth seeing large!