Ailurus fulgens fulgens
At the Detroit Zoo
Female Ta-shi came to the Detroit Zoo in 2008 and male Shifu arrived in 2012. This breeding pair has produced two sets of offspring, and their cubs have been sent to other zoos to help bolster the captive population of this threatened species. Their newest arrival, Tofu, was born in 2015 and can be found staying close to mom in their wooded habitat across from the tigers in the Asian Forest. Shifu can currently be seen hanging from tree branches and lounging on limbs this winter in the lemur habitat near the rhinos and Japanese macaques.
As its name suggests, the red panda’s fur is mostly a rusty-red color. It has white markings on its ears, cheeks, muzzle and above its eyes. Its bushy tail is ringed with light and dark variations of the rusty-red color. Its fur also covers the soles of its feet to help give it traction and prevent it from falling off slippery, wet branches.
The red panda, like the giant panda, has an extended wrist bone that acts like a thumb and allows it to easily hold onto bamboo.
In the past, the red panda has been classified as a relative to the raccoon and the giant panda. Now, it is listed as its own scientific family – the Ailuridae.