Rare red pandas visit Island

By County Press reporter

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


Rare red pandas visit Island

One of the red pandas at Amazon World Zoo Park.

STAFF at Amazon World Zoo Park on the Isle of Wight will be pandering to every need of their latest guests — two red pandas.

Xiao-xing (Morning Star) and Mei-xing (Beautiful Star) are on loan to the park from Port Lympne Zoo in Kent but their normal home is snowy mountainous terrain in China, Nepal and northern Myanmar.

Their numbers are now down to just 10,000 in the wild.

Even though they only arrived on the Isle of Wight yesterday (Monday), the one year olds have already settled in nicely at their new home and are feeding well on their diet of bamboo, fruit and meat.

Zoo park manager Rob Westby said the more bamboo they can grow, the better. He is appealing to Island residents for any bamboo, particularly rooted bamboo, which can be replanted to supplement their own supplies.

Although they are female, if they are both thriving in a year's time, the park is set to be given a male red panda, so in time there could be the patter of tiny panda feet.


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by Tony Tiltman Jnr

14th May 2014, at 09:58:41

Look what happened when Mink were captivated by man for their pelts in this country now classified as vermin, i am a firm believer of bide where you be and let nature take care of its self. Speices evolve and dissappear the same as we will one day.

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by James McAdder

14th May 2014, at 09:37:14

The problem is, Tony, their natural habitat us under serious threat.

Captive breeding programs may be the only hope for some endangered species (like the Red Panda), and zoos serve to raise public awareness of their plight.

Also, because they, like the Giant Panda, are Carnivores that have adopted a largely vegetarian diet which is unsuited to their digestive system, they tend to be rather sedentary and do well in captivity.

They are, as Dave Coombs says, not bears and not related to Giant Pandas (which are true bears). They are in a different, but related, family to the mustelids (Ailuridae), of which they are the the only surviving member. They were once thought to be related to raccoons because of their similar appearance, but this is only coincidental.

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by Tony Tiltman Jnr

14th May 2014, at 07:37:40

They should be in their natural habitat, not on display for public amusment.

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by Dave Coombs

13th May 2014, at 15:59:24

They are neither Panda's, nor Bears, but are more closely related to Weasels and Stoats. Really cute little critters though.

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by Susannah Thornton

13th May 2014, at 13:51:29

Cute. I've seen Red Panda's in other Zoo's, taking photographs of them can give some lovely pictures, as they have interesting faces I think. Maybe in time there will be some Red Panda's on the Island to stay here.

Any views or opinions presented in the comments above are solely those of the author and do not represent those of the Isle of Wight County Press.

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