Photo in the News: Standing Panda Is Big in Japan

Picture: Lesser panda stands on hind legs at Japanese zoo
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May 24, 2005—Futa, a two-year-old lesser panda is bringing Japanese zoogoers to their feet with his rare ability to stand, human style, for about ten seconds at a time. "We have kept lesser pandas for nearly 20 years at this zoo, but I have not seen one like Futa, which can stand for such a long time," Chiba Zoological Park official Hiroyuki Asano told the AFP news agency.

A member of the raccoon family, the lesser, or red, panda was once thought to be related to the familiar black-and-white giant panda. Living up to their name, lesser pandas are about as small as large housecats and keep a low profile, foraging mainly by night.

Feeding mostly on bamboo, fruits, and insects, the pandas are native to mountains in China and the Himalaya—where they are better known for skittering up trees than standing at attention.

—Ted Chamberlain

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