DZG has put out a plea for bamboo roots so it can grow more plants to provide food for our red pandas.
Senior Keeper Jodie Dryden, pictured above, and the rest of the Ungulates team are appealing for anyone digging up bamboo from their gardens to donate the roots to the zoo so we can increase our stock of shoots.
Section Leader Jay Haywood said: “In the wild, the red panda’s diet consists of about 65 per cent bamboo and at DZG we like to mimic what animals would feed on in their natural environment.
“If people would be kind enough to donate any unwanted roots we could then plant them on site and grow a good supply for our red pandas.
“We are not looking for cuttings or leaves, but the roots of the plant so we can build up our bamboo reserves for the future.”
RIGHT – DZG red panda Yasmin who has just turned 10.
Anyone who can help should bring their bamboo roots to the main zoo entrance inside the Safari Gift Shop and leave them with our Customer Services Team.
The red panda is a bamboo feeder with strong, curved and sharp semi-retractile claws, which stand inward for grasping of narrow tree branches, leaves and fruit. They cannot digest cellulose and so they must consume a large volume of bamboo to survive.
As well as bamboo they also eat mushrooms, fruit, roots, acorns, lichen, and grasses and, occasionally, supplement their diet with fish and insects. They do little more than eat and sleep due to their low-calorie diet.
Like the giant panda, it has a false thumb that is an extension of the wristbone that is used to hold and strip bamboo.