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A close encounter with red pandas at Wellington Zoo

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A slice of pear between my index finger and thumb, I gingerly held out my hand and held my breath. Little claws hooked into my stockings and an enormous grin spread across my face as a red panda took a bite. Reka is one of Wellington Zoo's five red pandas. She's rather on the tubby side, so it wasn't difficult to lure her in for pats with fruity treats. While all 'Close Encounter' participants are allowed into the enclosure, getting within touching distance is entirely up to how obliging/hungry the animals are feeling. http://www.3news.co.nz/A-close-encounter-with-red-pandas-at-Wellington-Zoo/tabid/1160/articleID/244906/Default.aspx

Red panda becomes surprise house guest in China

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The red panda turned up at the home of a Chinese family in the suburbs of Leshan, a city located in southwest China's Sichuan Province, last week. "We were having a meal outside our home and saw it climbing down the slope toward us. We approached it slowly, leaving the door of our house open, and then the red panda suddenly rushed inside," said the homeowner. VIDEO: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/wildlife/8978071/Red-panda-becomes-surprise-house-guest-in-China.html

What to watch during the NBA lockout? Feline agility competitions!

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It is a sport in which the contestants sometimes lie down in the middle of the field, unmotivated and bemused. Feline agility competitions, in which cats run through a miniature obstacle course full of hurdles and tunnels, have become fixtures on the cat show scene. Modeled after canine agility competitions, the tournaments feature a ring in which cat owners — some of whom have trained their pets from kittenhood — brandish a feather or sparkly wand to try to coax a cat to climb stairs, weave around poles and leap through hoops in as little time as possible. Some cats tear through the course in seconds. Others make it clear to the eager onlookers that they could not care less. "You have to get the cat to focus on the toy," said Anthony Hutcherson, who raises Bengal cats in Port Tobacco, Md., and whose oldest cat, Justin, has run the course in nine seconds. "Cats will pretty much chase a feather on a string anywhere." http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/19/sports/in-feline-agility-competitions-the-biggest-obstacle-can-be-the-cat.html?gwh=0B4F97FD3C09861D62CCF389DD610E41

Das "schönste Säugetier der Erde": Newborn red panda twins at Berlin's Tierpark Zoo

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Als Frederic Cuvier 1825 erstmalig den Kleinen Panda (Ailurus fulgens) wissenschaftlich beschrieb, bezeichnete er ihn als das "schönste Säugetier der Erde". Noch heute teilen viele Berliner seine Meinung und so zählt das Panda-Pärchen "Isabell" und "Quincy" zu den Besucherlieblingen im Tierpark Berlin. Dort erblickten am 22. Juni 2011 die beiden Jungtiere "Kit" und "Kitty" das Licht der Welt. Während sie die ersten 80 Tage zurückgezogen in ihrer Wurfhöhle verbrachten, beginnen die Zwillinge nun allmählich ihre Umwelt zu erkunden und wagen bereits erste Ausflüge auf die Bäume ihres natürlich gestalteten Geheges. Der Kleine Panda oder Katzenbär wird wegen seines fuchsroten Pelzes auch Roter Panda oder Feuerfuchs genannt. Er lebt im Rhododendron- und Bambusdickicht an den Südhängen des Himalayas sowie in den Bergwäldern im Südwesten Chinas. Dort ernährt er sich fast ausschließlich von Pflanzen, am liebsten von jungen Bambussprossen. Da sein natürlicher Lebensraum immer kleiner wird, gilt sein Bestand inzwischen als gefährdet. Der Tierpark Berlin unterstützt daher das WWF-Projekt zum Schutze des Kleinen Pandas im östlichen Himalaya und beteiligt sich mit seiner erfolgreichen Zucht am Europäischen Erhaltungszuchtprogramm, das vom Zoo Rotterdam koordiniert wird. Tierpark-Besucher, die "Kit" und "Kitty" bei ihren ersten Kletterversuchen beobachten möchten, sollten jedoch ein wenig Glück und Geduld mitbringen, da die Jungtiere zunächst nur zeitweise die sichere Höhle verlassen. http://www.tierpark-berlin.de/tierpark/veranstaltungen/veranstaltungs-news/news/article/zwillingsgeburt-beim-schoensten-saeugetier-der-erde-im-tierpark-berlin.html

Rust-colored yarn-knit red panda mittens with a tan face and eye mask, and white fur-fringed ears....

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Rust-colored yarn-knit red panda mittens with a tan face and eye mask, and white fur-fringed ears. Knitwits by deLux are made of natural New Zealand wool containing water-resistant lanolin. http://www.punk.com/1460887.html

Sport Science: Brandon Knight

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Sport Science: Brandon Knight

Robert "Tractor" Traylor found dead

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SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- Former NBA and University of Michigan player Robert "Tractor" Traylor has died. He was 34. Police in San Juan, Puerto Rico, said in a statement he was found dead Wednesday on the bedroom floor of his oceanfront apartment. Police and Traylor's team, the Vaqueros de Bayamon, said he had been missing for a few days and apparently died from a heart attack. The Vaqueros said Traylor was rehabbing a heel injury and had not been playing. They suspended their game Wednesday night because of his death.

Red Pandas like NutraSweet

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A threatened species native to the Himalayas is helping to shed light on how we taste sugary sweet foods — researchers have found that red pandas unexpectedly have a sweet tooth for aspartame, better known to soda drinkers as NutraSweet. .... The researchers tested the taste preferences for six artificial and six natural sugars. Each animal was given access to a sweet solution and water for 24 hours. If the animal drank more of the sweet solution, that was taken as a preference for it. As expected, the lion, a cat, did not prefer any of the sweet solutions. The remaining species preferred at least some of the natural sugars. But surprisingly, the red panda drank large amounts of the artificial sweeteners aspartame, neotame and sucralose.
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