International Red Panda Day

When someone says the words “red panda,” many people’s initial reactions might be to think that it sounds like a mythical animal. However, we’re here to assure everyone that the red panda is an actual animal native to southwestern China and the eastern Himalayas. This animal has reddish-brown fur, a black belly, and a mostly white muzzle.

It’s a symbol of patience, gentleness, and compromise, which is likely why it’s celebrated with its own holiday. A holiday that’s observed annually on the third Saturday in September and is aptly named International Red Panda Day. This is the perfect day for people to learn more about these amazing animals and to devote themselves to organizations focused on their conservation.

The History of International Red Panda Day

In 1825, red pandas were first described as members of the raccoon family. This was mainly because they have ringed tails and skulls that are very similar to those of raccoons.

Although this was disputed for a while and some scientists thought that red pandas actually belonged to the bear family, later genetic research confirmed that they belonged to their own family: Ailuridae. They are probably closely related to weasels, skunks, and yes, raccoons.

Red pandas live in high-altitude forests in the Himalayas and parts of China where bamboo grows. Unfortunately, these animals face considerable challenges. They are endangered, which is why they’re a protected species in China, Nepal, Myanmar, Bhutan, and India.

Many scientists believe that the red panda’s total population has declined by as much as 40% over the last 20 years. If something isn’t done soon, then these animals have a real chance of going extinct. In 2010, the Red Panda Network launched Red Panda Day.

When it was originally launched, this holiday was only celebrated at a handful of schools and zoos. Fortunately, every year the number of people participating in this holiday has continued to grow. Now, more than 60 zoos around the world participate, and over 100,000 visitors to these zoos are made aware of this holiday, now known as International Red Panda Day.

Observing International Red Panda Day

International Red Panda Day can and should be observed by anyone interested in these amazing animals. Red panda fans can learn more about them, donate to red panda conservation organizations, and spread the word about this holiday around the world using the hashtag #InternationalRedPandaDay. Currently, there are fewer than 10,000 red pandas around the world, but if we all do our part, perhaps we can help that population recover.

When is it?
This year (2024)
September 21 Saturday
Next year (2025)
September 20 Saturday
Last year (2023)
September 16 Saturday