Pictures of the Week 51 – I love bamboo :-)

This weeks’ picture is of a female Red Panda at Nashville Zoo at Grassmere, Nashville, Tennessee, USA

To review all 2011 pictures of the week go to http://www.sperka.biz/potw2011/slideshow

More Red Panda pictures at www.sperka.biz/redpanda

About Red Panda

The Red Panda (Ailurus fulgens) is a small arboreal mammal native to the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China. It is the only species of the genus Ailurus. Slightly larger than a domestic cat, it has reddish-brown fur, a long, shaggy tail, and a waddling gait due to its shorter front legs. It feeds mainly on bamboo, but is omnivorous and may also eat eggs, birds, insects, and small mammals. It is a solitary animal, mainly active from dusk to dawn.

The taxonomic classification of the red panda has been controversial since it was discovered. French zoologist Frédéric Cuvier initially described the Red Panda in 1825, and classified it as a close relative of the Raccoon (Procyonidae). At various times it has been placed in Procyonidae, Ursidae (Bears), with Ailuropoda (Giant Panda) and in its own family, Ailuridae.

Recent molecular-systematic DNA research also places the red panda into its own family Ailuridae, which is in turn part of the broad superfamily Musteloidea that also includes skunk, raccoon, and weasel families.

Red Pandas are not related to Giant Pandas, as the name would suggest, but they both love bamboo. The Red Panda picture was taken at Nashville Zoo and the Giant Panda at Zoo Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

This weeks selection for the “Picture of the Week” was made by a 7th grade World Geography class at Sunset Middle School in Williamson County, TN. Thanks for your interest in wildlife photography and conservation.

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