These are Eddie and Jasmina, two red pandas who live at Bristol Zoo, and who we went to see this weekend. My wife has always loved animals of all descriptions, and occasionally we go to places where she can spend some quality time with them.
Although red pandas are called pandas they are not pandas in the way that giant pandas are pandas. They’re not related at all, and don’t visit each other at Christmas. The word panda means eater of bamboo, though reds eat other things as well.
They’re about the size of a fox, with lovely noses stuck on inquisitive faces, but they’re very shy and stay up in the trees, so these photos are a bit furtive and rushed.
Jasmina is a girl, and Eddie came all the way from a New Zealand zoo to meet her. Hopes for babies were high. But it turns out that sexing red pandas is harder than you’d imagine, and Eddie has turned out to be a girl!
The animals hail from the forests of the Himalayas, but they have become vulnerable due to habitat depletion, so breeding pairs are important. Eddie and Jasmina will just have to wait a bit longer to fulfil their respective genetic destinies.