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Beijing Zoo 北京动物园
Red (Lesser) Panda

You think you have troubles? People come to see me because I am a panda and then they get outraged because I'm not black and white! I'm not even related to the big dude, but they have the nerve to call me "lesser" and "little" panda: 小猫熊 (xiǎomāoxióng). I have my own species all to myself; it's Ailurus fulgens. Those big black and white things are just one more type of bear. OK, so we had a common ancestor way, way, way back in the beginning of time, but who doesn't?

The confusion arose because we live in common habitats. Because I have this great tail, people thought I was a type of racoon. If I was a type of racoon, then the giant panda must be a racoon, too, not a bear. Thanks to modern genetic coding, the whole mess is getting straightened out. I am most certainly NOT a racoon. I'm much cuter.

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Last update: November 2009
© Marilyn Shea, 2009