The zoo celebrated the species on Sept. 17

ATASCADERO — On Saturday, Sept. 17, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Charles Paddock Zoo celebrated International Red Panda Day with extra fun for all patrons who headed out to the zoo that day.

International Red Panda Day falls every Sept. 18, and the zoo picks the closest Saturday to the official day every year.

“This year, we had some activities. We’re starting to grow the event a little bit, so we had some extra activities for the kids to do. We always give away some free activity booklets that are put out by the International Red Panda Network,” said Lead Zookeeper Flavia Parotti. “We had some coloring, zookeeper talks, and we had it so the kids could make a cute little Red Panda headband. It was all very kid-oriented, and it went really well.”


All of the activities for the day were included with general admission, and families took advantage of being able to learn more about red pandas. Currently, the zoo has four red pandas.

“The public can only see two. So we have two females that are on exhibit, and then off exhibit, we have a breeding pair that we just recently set them up,” Parotti said. “And because they’re a breeding pair, they need a little bit more privacy. So that’s why they’re held off exhibit.”

She also said that they’re hoping to have cubs after the next breeding season, and the cubs will be made visible to the public as they go about helping conserve this adorable species.

“Unfortunately, red pandas are threatened in the wild. In the last two decades, 50% of their population has been lost, and the numbers are continuously decreasing,” Parotti said. “They are a species that really really needs help from us, humans, in order to stop this decline. Otherwise, they are going to go extinct.” 

The zoo has been focusing on animal-specific days, so they can teach the kids and families coming to the zoo about the animals who need our help on the planet.