tmcd@panix.com tmcd at panix.com
Sat Aug 12 20:50:02 PDT 2006

On Sat, 12 Aug 2006 prudencecurious at netscape.net wrote:
> I have someone wanting a panda on their device.  There have been pandas
> passed in past, but none in 17 years.
> The device proposed is:
> Vairy Or and gules, a giant panda dormant gardant.

The general rule is RfS VII, Compatible Armorial Content, specifically
RfS VII.4:

    4.  Period Flora and Fauna - Flora and fauna that were known in
     the period and domain of the Society may be registered in armory.

     Hybrids or mutations of period forms known to have been developed
     after 1600 generally may not be used as charges.  For example,
     the English Sheepdog may not be used in Society armory because it
     was developed after 1600.

The Oxford English Dictionary, 1st edition, defines "panda" as

    A racoon-like animal ({AE}lurus fulgens) of the south-eastern
    Himalayas, about the size of a large cat, having reddish-brown fur
    and a long bushy ring-marked tail; the red bear-cat.

    [1824 F. Cuvier.  Hist. des Mammiferes livrais. 50 Panda.]

    1835 Swainson Nat. Hist. Quadrupeds 107 The panda..has been
    discovered only of late years, in the mountains of India.  It has
    been termed the most beautiful of all known quadrupeds.

{AE}lurus fulgens is indeed the red panda.  No sign of a giant panda
in that definition.  "Giant" doesn't list any combinations with
"panda".  The supplement to the 1st ed. (I don't know its date)
doesn't list it either.

<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giant_Panda> says that the giant panda's
binomial name, Ailuropoda melanoleuca, was given "(David, 1869)".
(The binomial naming system was devised by Linnaeus in the early
1700s.)  The article says

    The giant panda was first made known to the West in 1869 by the
    French missionary Armand David, who received a skin from a hunter
    on 11 March 1869. The first westerner known to have seen a living
    giant panda is the German zoologist Hugo Weigold, who purchased a
    cub in 1916. Kermit and Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. became the first
    foreigners to shoot a panda, on an expedition funded by the Field
    Museum of Natural History in the 1920s. In 1936, Ruth Harkness
    became the first Westerner to bring back a live giant panda, a cub
    named Su-Lin who went to live at the Brookfield Zoo in
    Chicago. These activities were halted in 1937 because of wars; and
    for the next half of the century, the West knew little of the

So, given that the cira 1900s OED didn't even *know* about giant
pandas (at least under that name), and given the Wikipedia history,
I would say that, unless the submitter can show evidence to the
contrary, it fails under RfS VII.4: it wasn't known in the domain of
the Society.

Daniel Lindum
Tim McDaniel; Reply-To: tmcd at panix.com

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