Houston Zoo Installs Firefox T

As many LinuxJournal.com readers will know, a number of the Linux Journal crew hail from Houston. Thus we were particularly pleased to learn that the Houston Zoo has just installed Firefox — but not quite how you think.

Toby, the Cutest Animal in the World

Source: Hourson Zoo

It would perhaps be more accurate — but certainly less fun — to say that the Zoo has installed a Firefox: Toby, a particularly adorable example of the creature that gave our favorite Open Source browser it's appellation. Not only is Toby the first Firefox — more commonly known as the Red Panda — in fifteen years to grace the Houston Zoo, but he is, apparently the Cutest Animal in the World as well. We'll not argue that one — he is awfully cute.

The Red Panda is a vulnerable species, native to forests in the foothills of the Himalayas — southwest China, Nepal, and Myanmar (Burma). Due to agricultural, fuel, and timber needs, their native habitat is suffering deforestation, a particular concern given the prime place bamboo holds in their diet. They also fall prey to various leopard species, certain birds of prey, and, of course, humans. It is legally protected to varying degrees across most, if not all, of its habitat.

Toby will be highly protected in his new habitat, equipped with everything a Firefox bachelor pad — or the Playboy Mansion — requires: natural climbing and flooring features, air conditioning, a skylight, and even a pool with a waterfall. For anyone who happens to be in the area and wants to see the little guy, tomorrow (March 28) will be his debut at the zoo — it's open from 9:00-7:00 daily through fall, with tickets ranging from free for those under two to $10 for adults. If you're looking for the otherFirefox, Mozilla can set you up with that — as well as a Toby of your very own.

Interestingly, though the word panda typically conjures thoughts of the better-known Giant Panda, it was first applied by Westerners to Red Pandas in 1821, some fifty years before being associated with Giant Pandas. As for the booming browser's eponym, it's a bit more local: the Chinese name for Red Panda is hunho — literally, Firefox.

Editor's Note: Yes, this is only marginally related to Linux and Open Source, and then only if you crane your neck really far to the left and look up a bit. All we can say is, variety is the spice of life.
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