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Raj, the red Panda, captivates visitors at Santa Barbara Zoo

SANTA BARBARA, Calif.— What’s black and white and red all over?

Meet Raj, the red panda.

Known for its reddish-brown fur, bushy tail, and endearing bear like face, it’s no surprise that Raj, the red panda, has already captivated children and adults alike.

Having just turned 1 year old on July 7th, he is still acclimating to the world around him—exploring, napping in the trees, and eating bamboo.

“ Raj behind us, he's about 10 pounds, so that's about as heavy as a kind of a big house cat,” said Director of Animal Care Rachel Ritchason.

Red pandas like Raj are known as crepuscular animals, meaning they're very active at dawn and dusk. They tend to sleep most the day.

“He is has been exploring quite a bit and I think maybe today that's why he is so tired. He's kind of been exploring so much. Now it's like, ‘okay, I just need a quiet day where I can relax,’” said Ryan Smith, Raj’s Keeper.

Due to habitat loss, there are less than 10,000 red pandas left in the wild making them an endangered species.

The zoo hopes that seeing endangered animals like Raj will get people to think more about wildlife conservation and human impact on the environment.

Article Topic Follows: Santa Barbara - South County

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Mina Wahab

Arab-American producer & reporter with a mission to dig deep in interviews, share authentically, shed light on the issues that matter, and provoke deep thought.


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