Appearance: Red pandas are, as named, covered in red fur with patches of black and white around their face and legs.
Behavior: These animals spend most of their lives in trees and even sleep aloft.
History: The red panda’s ancient cousin once lived in the Western North Carolina region. Bristol’s Panda (Pristinailurus bristoli) is an ancient North American relative of the living red panda whose fossils have been discovered at the Gray Archeological Site in the Southern Appalachian Mountains of Tennessee. Western North Carolina’s climate and ecosystem is almost identical to the lower mountain forests of Central Asia where red pandas currently live. The red panda is an endangered species with less than 10,000 (possibly as few as 2,500) of them in the wild. Their natural space is shrinking as more and more forests are destroyed by logging and the spread of agriculture.
Range: They are native to Asia’s forest eastern Himalayas and southwestern China.
Diet: Bamboo makes up around 90% of the red panda’s diet, with the other 10% consisting of roots, succulent grasses, fruit, insects, and grubs.
Date of Birth: June 11, 2009
Leafa was born at the Red River Zoo in Fargo, North Dakota. She is part of the AZA Species Survival Program and has had a total of 8 cubs! Leafa is more blonde than Phoenix.
Date of Birth: June 13, 2011
Phoenix was born at the Assiniboine Park Zoo in Winnipeg, Canada and came to the WNC Nature Center with Leafa in 2018.