On September 20, 2014, the first International Red Panda Day was held in France. This event, created by the Red Panda Network (RPN) in 2010, aims to raise awareness among a wide audience about the preservation of the little panda, an endangered Asian mammal species in its natural environment, and to raise funds for the RPN, which is increasing its actions in Nepal to protect it.
Small reminder on this American association created in 2005, the RPN is present in Nepal since several years, to study the red panda in its natural environment and to take part in its conservation, by training forest guards, by replanting trees, by helping the local populations to develop while respecting the biotope of the small panda, and by working with the governments of the various countries concerned to try to create a vegetal corridor allowing the populations of pandas currently fragmented to be able to mingle
So, this year, five French zoological parks agreed to organize this famous day of awareness within their structure: The Menagerie of the Jardin des plantes, helped by the SECAS and the CPPR, the Domaine de la Bourbansais, the zoo of La Flèche, the zoo of Bordeaux-Pessac and the Pal, helped by the foundation Le Pal Nature
For this first edition, stands were set up, with face painting workshops, mask making, origami, drawing contest, educational booklets for children, sale of stuffed animals and key rings to benefit the RPN...
Animations - feedings at the level of the enclosures of the pandas generated many exchanges with the animal caretakers, thus making it possible to convey the elementary message of this day: Learn to know the red panda to better protect it!
Our president, Hélène Allaire, present on the Menagerie site, tells us about her day:
"With the collaboration of the director and the animal caretakers, we have developed a program rich in animations and educational workshops. On the agenda were no less than three meetings with the park's caretakers in front of the red pandas' enclosure, workshops for children with masks to color, educational booklets dedicated to the red panda, face painting... all of this provided free of charge and voluntarily.
At 4:40 pm, visitors were also able to attend the medical training of the two youngest red pandas, a session during which the animals are trained to accept to be handled, or to present different parts of their bodies in order to facilitate possible veterinary care.
It is thus under a radiant sun and with a very enthusiastic public that the "Red Panda Day" took place. We had the pleasure to see many children coming to make a snow panther, giant panda or little panda mask, sometimes in very bright colors. The educational booklets were also a success, nothing like it to learn while having fun.
The SECAS association was also present with two stands selling items bearing the effigy of our famous little panda. The profits of the sales and the donations on the various stands will be directly given to the profit of the conservation to the association " Red Panda Network ".
By all these festivities, all the teams of the Menagerie of the Jardin des Plantes, the SECAS, and the CPPR hope to have given desire to a broad public to be interested more closely in the conservation of the red panda and its habitat.
See you next year for new surprises under the sign of the brightest of the pandas! "
This year, we collected more than 600€ for the RPN thanks to this special day. But it should be known that other French zoological parks also participate in the safeguard of the small panda, by helping financially the American association.
If you also want to contribute to the protection of the red panda, go to RPN site, this website offers a number of possible actions, such as adopting a panda, financing the training of a forest ranger, doing eco-volunteerism, or simply going to meet this small mammal as part of ecotourism!