Panda updates – Friday, June 28
A very important part of visiting zoological organizations is to recognize that although the animals in our care are used to the presence of humans, they are in no way, shape or form, domesticated (with the exception of the animal members of our petting zoo). Idgie, as cute as she is and as much as we love her, would make a terrible pet for anybody. All the animals here at the Zoo are treated and respected for what they are, whether that be a dangerous carnivore or a strong and powerful herbivore. Red pandas, specifically, require highly specialized diets and habitats to thrive. Although we do share a space with her in her habitat and approach her closely for training, it is always done with caution and after many hours of positive reinforcement training and relationship building. She also poops a lot! Take it from those of us who encounter it every day that it also doesn’t smell very good. The illegal pet trade is also becoming one of the largest threats to red pandas. Their cute appearance and seemingly docile nature make them a desired pet, and young and adult red pandas are pulled from their mothers and their wild habitats. If you love red pandas, the best thing to do is support your local zoo and their conservation efforts. Start by looking at the organizations they support, as that is one way to ensure that the program is a legitimate conservation organization. For example, Zoo Atlanta has supported Red Panda Network for many years, and they are doing great work to conserve red pandas and their habitats. You can learn more at https://www.redpandanetwork.org/!
Keeper II, Mammals
(photo by Danica W.)