Babu, Birmingham’s Brummie of the Year, is still the city’s most fabled red panda.


Babu, Birmingham’s Brummie of the Year, is still the city’s most fabled red panda.

BIRMINGHAM’S own Wildlife Conservation Park recalls how a single escape from red panda Babu turned into a regional search for the missing animal, which made it a celebrity.

Babu, a small red panda who was part of the park’s endangered species animal sanctuary, cleverly escaped his enclosure in October 2005.

The Park staff, who had expected one of their monkeys, wallabies, lynxes, or birds to flee, were able to quickly locate the missing Babu and upgrade his security with a brand new fence.

Babu, however, went missing for the second time on October 30.

His caregivers searched the entire park but were unable to locate him this time.

After two days of active hunting, the park decided to seek assistance from the media.

The zoologist instructed all Brummies to search for a red panda the size of a cat, which was most likely hiding high up in a tree.

Babu is clumsy on the ground, but with powerful sharp claws, he is an excellent climber.

“We would ask anyone who lives near the nature centre to check their trees, gardens, and sheds,” senior keeper Lee Basford told Birmingham Live.

Other media outlets quickly began spreading the word about the escaped Babu across the country, and the little animal quickly became well-known.

After two more days, however, no one had been able to locate him.

Finally, at 9 a.m. on November 3, park staff received a call.

Sandra McWilliams, who had dialed their number, had discovered Babu thanks to a flock of crows.

According to Ms McWilliams, her father advised her to listen to the crows.

“If you see a lot of crows and they’re making a lot of noise, look up the tree and you might find him,” he told her.

“Apparently the crows would make a lot of noise, and they’d be attacking him,” she continued.

Little Babu had survived for several days on his own by scavenging fruits and hiding in the trees, safe from predators and vehicles.

Following Babu’s escape in the press and on television, a new audience began to visit the conservation park.

During the winter months, the red panda was said to have increased visitor numbers by nearly 250 per day.

He was so well-liked that he was named Brummie Of The Year.

“Brinkwire News in Condensed Form.”


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