Panda Updates – Wednesday, September 4
Currently, there are two recognized subspecies of red pandas. They are a part of the family Ailuridae, and are actually the only member of that family currently still in existence. The two subspecies are Ailurus fulgens fulgens and Ailurus fulgens refulgens (Idgie, who lives here at Zoo Atlanta, is from the Ailurus fulgens refulgens subspecies). These two subspecies differ is some physical characteristics as well as the habitats that they are native to. Ailuris fulgens refulgens are found mainly in China, and share habitat with giant pandas. Ailurus fulgens fulgens are found in Nepal, northeastern India, and Bhutan. Although they are currently only found in these areas, red pandas used to have a much bigger range (millions of years ago, that is)! About 5 million years ago, Tennessee was home to a giant red panda that most likely went extinct when raccoons arrived in the area. They were found all over the world, but have since been reduced to the smaller region that they now call home. If you’re interested in red panda conservation, check out Red Panda Network at https://www.redpandanetwork.org/. They are an organization that Zoo Atlanta has supported for many years, and they are doing amazing work for wild red pandas and their habitats.
Keeper II, Mammals
(photo by Danica W.)