Red Panda

NAME
Bao Bao

TITLE
Love The Red Panda

GENDER
Male

AGE
4

FOUND
Himalayas & Southwestern China

CONSERVATION STATUS
Endangered

This 4-year-old red panda loves spending his time in the trees of his mountainous home. He is well adapted to the environment with his lovely fluffy coat which keeps him nice and warm when the temperature drops. But he’s noticed there has been a big drop in the places he can roam now. Often, he will head off to one section of the forest, only to find the trees have all been cut down along with his favourite snack, bamboo. He likes to avoid these places anyway because that’s where the people are and they love his fluffy tail.

Red Pandas are the ridiculously adorable creatures that munch on bamboo high up in the mountains. While they share a name and bamboo habits with the giant panda, they are not closely related and are the last surviving member of their genus. Living at very high altitudes, the red panda as a few very important adaptations to survive. With big bushy tails, they balance themselves along the branches of trees and snuggle up in their fluff to survive winter.

They can be both nocturnal and crepuscular (active during twilight) and spend their days asleep on tree branches or in tree hollows. When they wake up, they give their beautiful fur a good clean like a cat would before setting out to petrol their territories and searching for food. They mainly eat bamboo but occasionally eat small mammals, birds, eggs, flowers, and berries. They are always on the lookout for their predators which include the snow leopard, mustelids (the family including badgers, weasels, and martins) and humans. If they feel like they cannot escape, they stand on their hind legs to look bigger and get ready to defend themselves.

Red pandas can start reproducing at 18 months but are not fully mature until they are 2-3 years old. Usually solitary animals, mating is one of the few times they come together. Before she gives birth, the female will begin gathering grass, brushwood, and leaves to build her nest in a tree hollow or rock crevice where she will give birth to a litter of 1-4 cubs. The cubs are born both deaf and blind and the mother must spend 60-90% of her time with them. After the first week, she will start to spend more time away, coming back every few hours to nurse and groom them. The cubs will open their eyes at 18 days old and are fully weaned at 6-8 months. The cubs will often stay with their mother until she has her next litter the following year.

There are only 10,000 red pandas left in the wild. Their biggest threat comes from humans. They get caught in traps meant for other animals and are sometimes caught for their fur, particularly in southwest China where their bushy tails are highly prized to make hats. Habitat loss and fragmentation from human expansion and clearcutting is also a major issue making it difficult for some populations to cross over, causing inbreeding. But climate change is also a very real threat. As temperatures rise, the red panda needs to climb to higher and higher altitudes to stay in their temperature range which they are very sensitive to.

HOW TO HELP 
Based off real animals that Gillie and Marc met while travelling, the public will be able to meet individual animals. 

With public art, more people will come into contact with these sculptures, will stop and consider them, will take a photograph, and will discuss this with their friends and family. Through this increased exposure, the message of love, family, and conservation will be spread much further than any piece of art in a gallery ever could. It will bring people into close contact and will help them to fall in love. With love comes a greater urge to want to create a change and save all endangered animals. 

​The sculpture will be aligned with the hashtags #LoveTheLast to raise unparalleled awareness about the sculpture’s cause across the globe.

To help protect these animals, please donate to the WWF: https://www.wwf.sg/ 

PARTNER

WWF is one of the world’s largest and most respected independent conservation organisations. WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the earth’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature. As one of WWF’s international hubs, WWF-Singapore supports a global network spanning over 100 countries. We work to meet key conservation goals, such as deforestation, haze pollution, food security, sustainable finance, sustainable consumption and illegal wildlife trade.

For more information, visit https://www.wwf.sg

SPONSORED BY

Animal World Veterinary Clinic Pte Ltd 
In appreciation of all the doctors and staff who have worked and supported this clinic.