Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Need a friendly face? BonnieBlueFlag provides much needed relief

By BonnieBlueFlag

China's Giant Panda Has A Link
To Our American Raccoon

You may have seen today's picture of Futa, the Lesser Panda, that appeared via Yahoo's slide show photographs. Futa lives in the Chiba Zoological Park near Tokyo, Japan. Futa's picture was very cute, but, I think you will enjoy Ron Ron (below) even more.

Nine-year-old Ron Ron lives in the Asa Zoological Park in Hiroshima, Japan.
However, both pictures were a little deceptive in showing the size of the Lesser Panda, also known as the Red Panda; because, while you are thinking of his relative the more well known Giant Panda (approximately 400 pounds), the Lesser Panda (weighing less than 20 pounds) is also closely related to the Raccoon.

(National Zoo)

While it is doubtful that any of us will ever see a Giant Panda in our back yard, many of us are familiar with the antics of a Raccoon, and have first hand knowledge of their inquisitive nature.

One summer we came home after being away for a while to find little black raccoon paw prints everywhere. They were especially noticeable on a white chenille bedspread. We followed the prints back to a fireplace that he had used to gain entry on multiple occasions. It was the soot from a two story chimney that had given him away.

(North American Raccoon)

(The Red Panda)

The Lesser Panda is native to countries like China, India, Laos and Nepal. However, we are fortunate to have the Knoxville, Tennessee Zoo, where the number of Red Pandas born is second only world wide to a zoo in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

(Photo by Betty Wasserman)

Knoxville Zoo, Knoxville, TN by: BonnieBlueFlag


At 6:43 PM, Blogger Aussiegirl said...

Awww -- he's Soooo cute!! The Lesser Panda was always my favorite animal at the Washington Zoo (when I could stand to go and see animals in cages - I know, I know, they live longer than in the wild, and they are being protected from extinction in many cases - but doesn't something in your gut just revolt at the site of a sentient animal in a cage?)

Anyway -- they were my favorite animal -- until a few years ago, when sadly, bad mismanagement at the zoo led to someone negligently leaving rat poison in a place where the Lesser Pandas had access to it and both were accidentally poisoned.

What a relief and delight to see that adorable face -- especially today -- when we've had to see McPain's Darth Vader visage all day on the TV.


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