Panda Updates – Monday, June 8
June 7 would have been Idgie the red panda’s 14th birthday. Even though we had to say goodbye to her in April due to age-related decline in health, we are still working hard to raise awareness for her wild counterparts and continue the impact on red panda conservation that Idgie created. Zoo Atlanta has partnered with The Red Panda Network for several years as they have worked to protect wild red pandas and their native habitats.
Red pandas are considered an “umbrella species,” meaning that protecting them also protects a variety of other plants and animals. To celebrate World Environment Day and Biodiversity Day this year, The Red Panda Network hosted a #RunForRedPandas virtual 5k/half marathon event to raise much needed funds for their work during this global pandemic. Panda Care Team member Shauna shared the event with me, and together we formed a running team in Idgie’s honor called “Remembering Idgie.” We were joined by several other Animal Care Team members at Zoo Atlanta, and got some generous pledges from friends, family, and panda fans. Together we raised over $450 toward The Red Panda Network’s grand total of over $9,000 for the event! The virtual run was a great way for us to help raise money for one of our partner organizations doing amazing work in the field for red pandas. We’re proud to make this donation in honor of Idgie and celebrated the completion of our miles just how Idgie would have wanted: with a nice, cold bowl of grapes. It makes my heart happy to know that although we had to say goodbye to Idgie, her impact on conservation and our roles as animal care professionals are still with us every day.
Keeper II, Mammals
(photo by Shauna)