Red pandas - Animals of the ZooParc de Beauval

Red panda

Ailurus fulgens

IUCN status
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Red pandas - Animals of the ZooParc de Beauval

« Like the giant panda, the red panda is very fond of bamboo. »

A species apart

The only representative of its family, the Ailuridae

Though sometimes called the lesser panda, the red panda is not closely related to giant pandas. The giant panda is not the only species that we wrongly associate this adorable little climbing animal with. In English, one of its nicknames is the fire fox. Ailurus Fulgens, the species’ scientific name, translates as “shining cat”… and in China, it is referred to as the “little bear-cat”. Which species do you think the red panda is closest to genetically? It may seem hard to believe but the red panda is, in fact, closer to the raccoon, the skunk, and the weasel!

Panda roux - Animaux extraordinaires du ZooParc

Beauval Nature contributes to the preservation of the red panda

The red panda is classified as a “vulnerable ” species by the IUCN, and is threatened by many factors, such as agricultural expansion and the degradation of its habitat, particularly due to forest fires.

The Red Panda Network, an NGO, has developed a community conservation project involving 42 Nepalese forest guards from local communities. Their missions include monitoring and conducting censuses on populations of red pandas, as well as fighting forest fires.Beauval Nature has been contributing financially to this conservation programme since 2014.

Red pandas - Animals of the ZooParc de Beauval

Inès, the young, shy red panda

Inès arrived at Beauval at the same time as a young male named Browny in the spring of 2018, on the dawn of her first birthday!

Young, she has just had her first baby with Browny: a female born on June 10, 2020. The little one is called Mei which means “pretty” in Chinese.
We hope that Inès and Browny will go on to have many cubs together!

Red pandas - Animals of the ZooParc de Beauval
Red pandas - Animals of the ZooParc de Beauval
Red pandas - Animals of the ZooParc de Beauval
Red pandas - Animals of the ZooParc de Beauval
Beauval Nature

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Learn more about the species

  • Diet
  • Gestation period
    4½ months
  • Litter size
    1 to 4 young
  • Habitat

Heavy-duty fur

The red panda lives in bamboo groves and mountain forests on the slopes of the southeastern Himalayas, and in southwestern China, between 2,200 and 4,800 metres in altitude. Its thick fur allows it to withstand the extreme cold that is prevalent at these high altitudes. But this is not the only asset it possesses to help it cope with the harsh mountain winters. It has pads on the soles of its paws to help it walk in the snow. And these pads are protected from frost bite by long hair!


Like the giant panda, the red panda is very fond of bamboo and has a false thumb: an opposable sixth finger that is ideal for this diet. In fact, its whole body is specialised for eating bamboo. Thanks to its semi-retractable claws, it is an excellent climber. It uses these adaptations to hold on to narrow branches and bamboo trunks. Although it feeds on resources, such as lichen, leaves, fruit, and roots that it finds in the canopy of the forests where it lives, it is in fact a carnivore! To supplement its diet, it will readily eat rodents, lizards, larvae, or small invertebrates. In the spring, it may even eat a few eggs and even chicks!

Red panda reproduction

Though it lives alone most of the time, the red panda sets off to find other individuals during the breeding season, often towards the end of winter. Two to four young are born after a gestation period of 135 days. When they are born, the young are protected in a burrow prepared by their mother where they will remain for nearly 90 days. It is only after this period that they will begin to venture outside the nest, under the ever-protective gaze of their mother.

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Other species in the territory

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