Newborn Rare Red Panda Becomes Athens Zoo Sensation

Red Panda Athens zoo
Visitors to the zoo will vote for the name of the newborn panda. Credit: Instagram/Attica Zoological Park

A newly born red panda has become an instant star of a zoo near Athens as hundreds queued to get a glimpse last weekend on Red Panda Day at the Attica Zoological Park.

The red baby panda is two months old. She has not been named yet and is mostly seen sleeping in her mother’s lap.

The red panda also known as the lesser panda, is a small mammal native to the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China. It has dense reddish-brown fur with a black belly and legs, white-lined ears, a mostly white muzzle and a ringed tail.

Its head-to-body length is 51–63.5 cm (20.1–25.0 in) with a 28–48.5 cm (11.0–19.1 in) tail, and it weighs between 3.2 and 15 kg (7.1 and 33.1 lb). It is well adapted to climbing due to its flexible joints and curved semi-retractile claws.

The red panda’s place on the evolutionary tree has been debated, but modern genetic evidence places it in close affinity with raccoons, weasels, and skunks. It is not closely related to the giant panda, which is a bear.

The species has been listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List since 2015. It is protected in all range countries.

Red panda’s Athens zoo

The Attica Zoological Park is the only zoo in Greece, receiving hundreds of thousands of visitors of all ages, every year, from all over the country.

It was initially founded as a bird park in May 2000, hosting the world’s third-largest collection of birds (1,100 birds from 300 different species).

Striving to combine entertainment with education, it now offers visitors a unique journey to the five continents, through the lives of more than 2000 animals from 290 species, such as lions, Asian elephants, giraffes, monkeys, bears, penguins, parrots, dolphins and many more, in an area of over 20 hectares.

The zoo says that while zoos are a place for entertainment and relaxation, central to the philosophy of Attica Zoological Park is an effort not only to entertain but also to educate our visitors.

“Raising public awareness of the animal kingdom, as well as preserving and breeding endangered species – some 30% of the park animals are threatened or threatened by extinction – are among our main objectives. Our pursuit is to be, first and foremost, a place of education and conservation,” it adds.

The Attica Zoological Park played a key role recently in trying to save a rare white tiger cub found abandoned near Athens.

The cub was found under a garbage bin and was in a desperate state.

Jean-Jacques Lesueur, the founder of the zoo where the white tiger was housed, explained that the decision on the fate of the animal was made and it will be euthanized, as it cannot be saved.

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