Here's how you can help a couple of adorable red pandas threatened by a food shortage
This article originally appeared in Food & Wine.
Red pandas are probably best known as “OMG that cute furry animal!!” in memes the world over. But the raccoon-esque mammal (that is actually not closely related to the giant panda at all) is also endangered—threatened by deforestation and poaching. And even a couple red pandas kept in captivity are now threatened. The zoo that houses them is looking for food donations to keep the pair, Mulan and Anmar, healthy.
The problem, zoo management at Drusillas Park in East Sussex, England says, is that the red pandas, like the giant animals that share their name, have massive appetites. Mulan and Anmar eat two kilograms of bamboo everyday, which doesn’t sound like all that much, but remember, red pandas only weigh an average of around five kilograms. So they’re eating close to 40 percent of their body weight daily. And Drusillas Park just doesn’t have that enough bamboo to go around. “Normally we would look to our own grounds to supply the required bamboo,” zoo manager Sue Woodgate told The Daily Express, “but our gardening team have now had to ask us to stop ‘raiding’ their bamboo as there is very little left.”
So the zoo is turning to the public to keep their red pandas in bamboo. The zoo is asking for anyone with any unwanted bamboo, which can grow quickly and easily in places that can get as cold as five degrees Fahrenheit. If you have bamboo or you want to go get some to help feed a pair of cute, endangered red pandas, the zoo is asking you to call 01323 874100.
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The red pandas aren’t the only zoo animals recently turning to the public for help. Just last week the Cincinnati zoo that is home to Fiona, a baby hippo, began raising money for her care by selling a beer from a local brewery.
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Hopefully people will step up and help the red pandas out. We know there isn’t a commercial set to a Sarah McLachlan soundtrack yet, but consider how much joy you have experienced thanks to red pandas. Isn’t that worth at least one international bamboo shipment?