Red Panda

Basic Information:

Scientific Name: Ailurus fulgens

Habitat: Red Pandas live in the temperate forests of Nepal, Bhutan, and northeastern India. 

Diet: Red pandas mainly eat bamboo, but also small mammals, birds, and insects. 

Size:  About 1 foot high / 3 to 4 feet long

Weight: 10 to 20 pounds

Lifespan: 10 years according to AZA Species Survival Statistics 

Distribution Map:

I.U.C.N. Conservation Status:

What does this mean?

Endangered –  a species determined by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (I.U.C.N.) to possess a very high risk of extinction as a result of rapid population declines of 50 to more than 70 percent over the previous 10 years (or three generations), a current population size of fewer than 250 individuals, or other factors. 

Number of Mature Individuals Remaining in the Wild:


Our Red Pandas:

Khairo (Male) – Born June 21, 2016
Mei Lin (Female) – Born July 6, 2019

About Red Pandas:

Red Pandas are usually found in the northern to west provinces of China, Nepal, India and Tibet. They can easily be distinguished by their unique rusty, red coat color. Their coat helps them blend into the canopies of Fir trees where the branches are covered in reddish-brown moss and lichens. Throughout the day, red pandas spend their time eating bamboo. In fact, despite their physiology resembling that of a carnivore, bamboo constitutes 85% to 95% of their diet. Red pandas are known to eat 2 to 4 pounds of bamboo every day! That’s roughly 20-30% of their body weight! It also adds up to about 20,000 bamboo leaves! 

Did You Know?!

  • Red pandas share the giant panda’s pseudo-thumb, a modified wrist bone, that is used to help grasp bamboo when feeding.
  • Red pandas are generally solitary animals, except during mating season.
  • While Red Pandas and Giant Pandas share the “panda” part of their name, they are actually not closely related to one another! It is believed that the word “panda” merely comes from the Nepali word “ponya” meaning “bamboo eater.” In fact, Giant Pandas are more closely related to bears while Red Pandas – like Mei Lin at the zoo – are more closely related to raccoons, skunks, and weasels!
  • Red pandas have a soft, dense woolly undercoat covered by long, coarse guard hairs that cover their entire body, except their noses.

What's Next at the Utica Zoo?

Introducing Our New Four-Season Red Panda Habitat

We are thrilled to announce our plans for an extraordinary addition to the Utica Zoo — a brand new, state-of-the-art four-season red panda habitat!

Working in collaboration with WDM Architects of Wichita, KS, and Clinton based firm, Nelson Associates Architectural Engineering, we aim to create a captivating open-air environment that will provide an enriching experience for both our red panda and our visitors – and make way to welcome additional red pandas in the future!

  • This new habitat will feature several elements to ensure an immersive and enjoyable experience for everyone including:
    Open-air concept with water features, trees, and specially designed structures for an atmosphere that mimics their native Himalayan environment and showcases their remarkable climbing abilities.
  • On-exhibit day room to allow the red pandas to be on display in an environment that encourages their well-being and enrichment in all weather conditions.
  • Guest viewing to exterior yard and to on-exhibit day room.
  • Animal management area with three separate holding areas.

To Bring This Project to Life, We Estimate a Total Cost of $1 Million.

The initial gift for drawings and plans came from the Community Foundation of Oneida and Herkimer Counties and the Rotary Club of Utica, who chose the Utica Zoo as the recipient of the funds from their 2nd Annual Service Above Self Gala.


Join us on this incredible journey and become a vital part of our Red Panda Habitat Project!
Together, we can make a lasting difference for these remarkable animals and provide a remarkable experience for all who visit the Utica Zoo.

The Utica Zoo will close at 3pm on 12/31 and will reopen with normal hours on 1/1!