Will Red Pandas return to North Carolina after millions of years?

Schädelknochen Vergleich
The Bristol’s Panda (left) and today’s Red Panda (right). Photo: Aaron Woodruff


A few million years ago, relatives of the Red Panda like the so called Bristol’s Panda lived in western North Carolina. Fossils of him have been found in the southern Appalachians.

The Return of the Red Pandas

But today a lot of people in this area have never seen a Red Panda in real life.

WNC Nature Center in Asheville – which has specialised on animals of the southern Appalachians – wants to change this and bring back Red Pandas to western North Carolina.

Last week the Asheville City Council approved a $184,820 appropriation for the construction of a Red Panda Exhibit and Breeding Project. The enclosure should be opened in autumn and will house a Red Panda couple. The zoo team is already working together with Knoxville Zoo (TN) to learn more about successful Red Panda breeding.

Red Panda campaign

The “Friends of the WNC Nature Center” have announced that they will cover 83% of the costs.

For this purpose, donations are collected on the WNC Nature Center website.

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Our interview with Aaron Woodruff about prehistoric Red Pandas:

“The Red Panda has persisted because it is a specialist”