Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Nordic Ark, July 12th 2008. Part Four

The next exhibit was the red panda (Ailurus fulgens). The park currently has two pandas, a mother and her son. The son is almost grown and will be leaving the park this fall. He is already promised to another zoo in ... some other country, I don't remember where. :-) The Nordic Ark is heavily involved in a number of breeding programs - it's one of the main areas of work that they focus on - and throughout the park there are signs explaining where and when the animals you're seeing were born, what their relationship is with each other (if any), and what the plans for their future are if they're not going to be staying at the Ark.

The young male was incredibly energetic and put on a fantastic show for us. :-) He ran around, chased his mother (maybe trying to get her to play?) and climbed in both small saplings and a huge tree. He was an amazing climber, it was exactly like seeing a cat. No wonder that the Chinese call the red panda the 'cat bear'. :-) The mother was much more relaxed ... she eventually settled down on the roof of one of the shelters in the exhibit, and just glanced at him from time to time. Obviously he is old enough to mostly manage on his own, and she's not too worried ... as long as she can keep tabs on him a little bit. :-)

Mother and son together:

Watching them move was so much like seeing cats. Really weird-looking cats. :-)

This tree was a little too thin to climb on, but he tried several times ... an optimist, perhaps. ;-)

THIS tree, on the other hand ... !!! :-D

His mother was nowhere near as energetic and she eventually decided that as hot as it was it was better to find a shadowy place to rest.

These animals were just so beautiful and elegant and so fascinating to see ... I had seen red pandas before but they were just hiding in a tree (that was in Beijing Zoo some years ago). Never running around and playing like this. It was a fantastic experience seeing it and would have been worth the entrance fee alone. :-)

(Photo credit: me)

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