Today is International Red Panda Day, which is meant to raise awareness of this wonderful creature and help with conservation efforts. With an ever declining number remaining in the wild, primarily due to poachers and habitat loss, this is a day to help raise awareness of this amazing, yet now endangered species. Our local Kansas City Zoo has been part of this conservation effort and around 4 years ago a little red panda cub named Fei Jai made his debut. I’ve always thought red pandas were rather adorable, but the baby version, weighing in at only 4 pounds, is almost too much cuteness to handle. Scientists have struggled to classify the red panda, sometimes relating it to a giant panda and then a raccoon, before giving it its own unique family called the Ailuridae. A nearly unpronounceable word, as usual, so I rather like the other nickname that’s often given to them of firefox. But no matter how you define them, I definitely hope this incredible creature is around for years to come!

For a brief period of time when I was a child, being a zookeeper was a dream of mine. Like most kids, the dream of what I wanted to “be” when I grew up changed often. The idea of having a job where I could hang out with animals all of the time seemed like the coolest thing ever. Still does, actually, on some days when I’m in a meeting with lots of humans who can’t seem to agree on what to do next. It almost makes me giggle to think we fancy our species so superior, yet often seem to forget that we don’t always have to “think” our way through everything. Like other animals, we are indeed gifted with instinct, but unlike other animals, we’re less likely to rely on it. Just watching a squirrel is incredibly mesmerizing to me. There’s a bit of caution there, but no ability to overthink anything in a way that would hinder what simply “feels” like the best thing to do next. Though we typically seek our tutelage from humans, there’s much that animals can teach us. When I observe closely, I’m happily reminded that just being myself and following my instincts are a rather wonderful way to live.

And while that momentary dream of working with animals never came true, I still have a deep love for them to this day. I can’t imagine a world with only humans tromping around the planet. I’m so inspired by these creatures, whether they are eating bamboo in trees or swimming in the ocean. My own furry creature, Phineas, is currently staring at me, silently willing me to walk over and hand him his evening treat. That’s pretty much all he needs to be happy and, now that I think about, he’s got life figured out rather nicely. I sometimes get so caught up in trying to do new things that I forget that these simple everyday things are more than enough to satisfy me. So, I’m going to sign off and enjoy a ridiculously simple evening with my little family. One with no plans whatsoever and built entirely on instinct. Okay, so I may first be adopting a red panda, but also on instinct, because I really can’t think of a better way to thank them for the inspiration.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Vermilion, and Indigo (My “Vintage” Trio!).  Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
Day 15 - Red Panda Day Watercolor Painting Illustration - Doodlewash

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18 thoughts on “International Red Panda Day

  1. As the daughter of a zookeeper, I can say that I think you would have loved the job. Helping pull anaconda snakes off of fellow zookeepers and being thrown across the paddock by an annoyed elephant . Rescuing groundskeepers from polar bears … those are only a few of the adventures you’d have had to look forward to! Your red panda is adorable!

  2. Another adorable painting, another delightful story, and best efforts to raise awareness about firefoxes – such a great name! You wanted to be a zookeeper. I wanted to be a flower girl. Looks like neither of our dreams came true. But the firefox baby remains adorable. As does Phineas.

  3. Red pandas are one of my favorite animals! As a child, I dreamed of working with monkeys at the L.A. zoo. I was too young to understand what the job really entailed – I just wanted to swing and play like the ones I saw in the exhibit. Lovely color on today’s animal friend.

  4. Cute little guy! I can’t even imagine what they are being poached for. People on this planet need to get a clue before it’s too late. I hope we haven’t hit the tipping point yet.

    1. Thanks, Anita! 😃💕Yeah, they’ve been mistyped for years. Actually, they were the first to receive the name of panda (bamboo eater) so technically they’re the only true panda since the giant ones are actually bears. hehe

  5. That is one huggable little panda. I didn’t know this even existed so I go to bed (later) a little smarter today.

    When I was young, I wanted to be a teacher. I brought friends home and taught them art on the little blackboard my parents had bought me. I eventually became a teacher, though I never taught art. Later, in high school, I wanted to be an ambassador to Russia after reading Solzhenitsyn and some other Russian authors. Then, I wanted to be a fashion illustrator…I know….all over the map, right?

  6. I love that panda. Was scrolling through Reader, trying to catch up on sites I hadn’t visited in months and months, and there was that precious little fluffy face, and I’m right back to my favorites again. What an absolute joy, and I haven’t even read the article yet.

    Now that I’ve read it, even more spectacular!
    Charlie said, “Just watching a squirrel is incredibly mesmerizing to me. There’s a bit of caution there, but no ability to overthink anything in a way that would hinder what simply “feels” like the best thing to do next.”…Both feral and wise!

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